A workhouse was an institution in 17th century England whose intent is to deter the poor from accessing relief services provided by their parishes and derived from the taxes of propertied citizens (Bloy, 2002). Workhouses were erected with the general idea that the poor were disadvantaged because of their idleness and as long as relief was made available for them, they were not motivated to look for work. Conditions within the institution were severe.
Inmates were made to wear coarse uniforms, slept in dormitories, subsisted on very basic diets and in order to earn their keep, they were made to perform hard work such as stone breaking, bone crushing, painting walls, hole-digging which were to be filled in again and working the corn mill (Bloy, 2002). Such degrading conditions were employed to force the poor to look for employment and make their lives more decent.
Houses of corrections served a variety of purposes in that they provided work for the unemployed, skills training for the young as well as punishment and reform for petty criminals by sentencing them to brief periods of incarceration with hard labor such as beating hemp (BBC. co. uk, 2008). Hard labor was intended to reform inmates by teaching the value of industry and deter crime as well (Old Bailey Online, 2007). Later, houses of corrections began to house convicts of various offenses and the periods of imprisonment lengthened.
Goals were areas for the imprisonment of convicts and persons awaiting trial. Private goals proliferated during and prior to the 18th century and were managed by private entities and were commercial operations where inmates had to pay for their food and other services such as the hammering on and off of leg irons (Cochrane, Melville and Marsh, 2004). Finally, hulks, also known as floating prisons, were old ships which were used to incarcerate convicted males where they were chained for the duration of their sentence (BBC.
co. uk, 2008). These convicts were also made to do hard labor such as dredging the Thames, working in the docks and supplementing the armed forces during war (Bloy, 2002). Hulks were later used to ship convicts from England to the Penal Colony in Australia when the English colony of Virginia stopped admitting transported convicts (Old Bailey Online, 2007). List of References BBC. co. uk (2008). A Brief History of the English Prison System. Retrieved 9 June 2008 from http://www. bbc. co. uk/dna/h2g2/A20961137. Bloy, M.
(2002). Victorian Web Home: Workhouses and the Poor Law. Retrieved 9 June 2008 from http://usp. nus. edu. sg/victorian/history/poorlaw/southwh. html. Cochrane, J. , Melville, G. and Marsh, I. (2004). Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice. London: Routledge, pp. 187. Retrieved 9 June 2008 from www. questia. com. Old Bailey Online (2007). Punishments at the Old Bailey. Retrieved 9 June 2008 from http://www. hrionline. ac. uk/oldbailey/history/crime/punishment. html#imprisonment.