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The origins of late eighteenth-century prison reform in England

Hardman, Philippa J. (2007) The origins of late eighteenth-century prison reform in England. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The thesis is divided into three stages of analysis: first, it considers the penal reform ideas which circulated in England during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, demonstrating continuities over time in the arguments advanced in favour of institutionalised hard labour. The thesis then analyses the reform discourse used by eighteenth-century penal reformers, first on a national level, and secondly on the local level through a comparative case study of reform activity in Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Middlesex. The cases made for reform in each of these counties shared some remarkable and important similarities, as did the reform language used at the national and the local level. The final stage of the thesis examines the implementation of reform in Gloucestershire, Lancashire and Middlesex, identifying what late eighteenth-century reformed prisons were designed to achieve and how reform was presented to the wider public audience. The main argument of the thesis is that the prisons which were built at the end of the eighteenth century were the product, on the one hand, of the revived resonance of a penal reform discourse which first emerged in the sixteenth century, and on the other, of a sense of alarm and belief in improvement generated by local level reformers' strategic use of language. The main findings of the thesis are, first, that late eighteenth- century prison reform ideas and discourse formed part of a tradition which stretched back to the sixteenth century and, secondly, that language and culture played a decisive part in making late eighteenth-century prison reform happen.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2012 14:34
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3037

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