By Professor Helen Johnston and Dr Jo Turner

The Victorian period has often been depicted as one where people with disabilities were viewed as a burden to their families and their communities, and social policies aimed at helping these individuals were virtually nonexistent.

In fact, a fundamental response to people with either physical or cognitive impairments was to either ignore them or lock them up in asylums or workhouses.

But many people with disabilities were incarcerated in the convict prison system during this period. So what was prison like for these individuals? And how did the authorities respond to and deal with members from these often marginalised groups?

Using case studies of prisoners with physical disabilities, Prof Helen Johnston and Dr Jo Turner try to uncover the hidden experiences of a life of penal servitude, providing a glimpse of what is was like to be both disabled and a convict during the nineteenth century.

The article is published in the Prison Service Journal.


Read the full article

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Also from @BloomsburyHist : Mary Gibson’s (JohnJayCollege) “Italian Prisons in the Age of Positivism”

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What can 1,895 petitions to the county magistrates tell us about life and the state in 17th-century England? I don't know yet, but now we have the data to find out!

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Fascinating discussion of nineteenth-century prisons and rehabilitation, first from @helenrogers19c on local prisons and a voluntary prison visitor, and second @ourcriminalpast on experiencing the penal servitude and licensing

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Just a few more days until #prisonshist conference at Keble College, Oxford on 15 & 16 July! All welcome. Here’s a badly framed photo of the plans for the “great drains” at Cold Bath Fields house of correction (1794) for your enjoyment! https://t.co/u4PG8baqHR