HC Deb 23 April 1858 vol 149 c1650

, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to abolish franchise prisons, said, there was in this country certain prisons in which debtors were liable to be confined if arrested. They were prisons which the feudal lord was compelled by his tenure to provide, but in which prisoners were liable to be incarcerated without food, fuel, or beds, unless they had the means of obtaining those necessaries for themselves. He trusted that the House would, by agreeing to this Bill, affirm the principle that there ought to be no prisoners in this country except in the Queen's prisons. In one of these franchise prisons —that at Swansea—the hardships suffered by the debtors were so great, that Mr. Hill, Recorder of Birmingham, recently felt himself called upon to suffer a fraudulent debtor to escape with a more lenient judgment than he would otherwise have passed, on account of the sufferings he had undergone in the Swansea Gaol. This was a scandal which ought not to exist in any civilized country.


thanked the hon. Gentleman for the introduction of a Bill to abolish this remnant of feudal times.

Leave given.

Bill to abolish Franchise Prisons ordered to be brought in by Mr. HARDY and Mr. Secretary WALPOLE.

Bill presented, and read 1°.

House adjourned at half alter Twelve o'clock, till Monday next.