New Brunswick. Commission to Inquire into the State of Prisons.

Abstract: Report of Judge Botsford and Parker on the State of Prisons, 1840

In December of 1839, a Commission was struck to examine the state of prisons. Because the legislation which brought this Commission into existence is unknown, it is unclear what Commissioners Parker and Botsford were referring to when they stated that they "visited the Gaol in this place". It is possibly the prison in Saint John since the county houses of detention were usually referred to as "gaols".

Nevertheless, there is some historically pertinent material that can be extracted from the report of this Commission. For instance, it stated that the prison in question made only one distinction in the incarceration of inmates, namely the sex of the offender. The Commissioners noted that juvenile and adult prisoners were housed together; felons and those convicted of minor offences were housed together; and those already convicted and those awaiting their trial were housed together. The Commissioners also reported on the use of the prison for the confinement of debtors.

The report made no significant recommendations, but it did include a description of the conditions in which prisoners lived. It claimed that those interned did not suffer excessively from lack of space or lack of cleanliness


W. Botsford
R. Parker.

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