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!! Ballina Chronicle; March 27, 1850 "Ireland Convict Prison"

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, March 27, 1850 GENERAL CONVICT PRISON FOR IRELAND The new building near Phibsborough, on the North
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2005
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, March 27, 1850

      The new building near Phibsborough, on the North Circular-road,
      intended as a general convict depot, was on Tuesday declared ready for the
      reception of inmates, and persons under sentence of seven or ten years'
      transportation will be drafted there forthwith from the several gaols
      through Ireland. The building is intended to contain 650 male convicts, and
      will be conducted somewhat upon the plan of the model prison at Pentonville.
      The convicts will be taught different branches of trade, and if by their
      good conduct and industry, after a probation of twelve months, they entitle
      themselves to a certificate of good character, they will be sent abroad at
      the public expense and entitled to tickets of leave on landing, whereby they
      may enter into employment or become settlers. For those not conforming to
      the rules, the discipline is said to be very severe, solitary confinement
      and the silent system being among the rigours they will be subject to. The
      building is spacious and well ventilated and remarkably commodious. On
      passing from the front entrance through the great hall, where the apartment
      of turnkeys and minor officers are, you enter a wide area, from the floor of
      which a distinct view of the whole interior is obtained at one glance. This
      is effected by means of a spiral staircase of iron, in bars and railings,
      rising from the centre, and leading to corridors of the same material which
      traverse the building in every direction in front of the cells. - These
      extend three stories high from the floor to the top, so that a person
      standing in the hall could see every movement in the galleries, staircases,
      or elsewhere beyond the cell doors. The cells are fitted up each end with a
      low hammock, mattress, blankets, and counterpane, and are supplied with
      every requisite for the accommodation of one prisoner, in the most simple
      and plain manner. They are each furnished with an alarm or night bell, by
      means of which the inmate in case of sudden illness or other cause, may
      summon the turnkeys. The doors are of heavy cast iron, shutting with a
      spring which fastens from the outside, and are provided with a circular spy
      hole guarded with iron wire, by means of which the officer on duty can at
      all times watch the movement of the inmate, while he cannot see anything
      outside the walls of his cell. The cells are spacious, scrupulously clean,
      and ventilated on an effective principle, which affords a thorough current
      of fine air. There are numerous other buildings within the walls- the
      governor's and deputy governor's residences, places of worship, by which,
      while the prisoners can see the clergyman and assist at divine service, they
      cannot hold any communication with each other, being perfectly isolated.
      There are, besides, workshops for the various trades, an hospital, exercise
      yard, cooking-house, laundries, &c. Indeed the utmost attention seems to
      have been paid to all arrangements requisite for securing the health of the
      convicts, and for their useful occupation and safe custody. -- Freeman.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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