HL Deb 19 February 1839 vol 45 cc587-8
The Duke of Richmond

presented a petition from the Provost and Baillies of the burgh of Elgin regarding Prison Discipline. They say that nothing could be worse than the state of prison discipline in that place. Now he, (the Duke of Richmond) had recently visited that place, and he would say few men would allow their dogs to be kept in it. He had also visited Edinburgh, and the prisoners of the gaol there he found crowded together in great numbers, and that the discipline in that prison is such that it might be rather said there was no discipline at all. He need only state, that he was standing with the governor of that gaol in the yard, where numbers of prisoners were confined, when the governor begged him not to stand there, or the prisoners would insult him. Now he thought it was the duty of Government to apply a remedy to such evils. In this prison one of the prisoners was the agent of a pawnbroker in the town, and was accustomed to send out clothing and other articles, having advanced money upon them. Such was the discipline of those prisons. He thought no time would be mis-spent in effecting a change in such disorders. It was impossible that any man could come out of such prisons reformed in character. In fact, he must come out in a worse state than when he went in. They were the established schools of vice and crime, and he strongly urged the attention of the House to this petition.