Bedford Juvenile Prison, Bedford, Bedfordshire
In 1894, Herbert Gladstone M.P., son of the long-serving Prim Minister William Gladstone, was appointed to chair a Departmental Committee on Prisons. One of the Committee's concerns was to keep young offenders out of prison or, failing that, to keep them apart from adult offenders. The Committee also recommended the establishment of a state penal reformatory — something between a Reformatory School and a prison — for those aged from 16 to 21. In 1899, an experimental scheme began at Bedford Prison to provided an alternative style of detention for such offenders. Its initial inmates were from London prisons and who were serving sentences of between one month and two years.
The young inmates were separated from adult prisoners and given a routine which included physical exercise, school lessons, work training, strict discipline and follow-up supervision after their discharge.
In 1900, the scheme was extended to part of the convict prison at Borstal in Kent, whose name soon became adopted for establishments operating the new-style regime. These experiments led to the creation of a permanent system of Borstal Institutions in 1908.
Bedford is now a local 'Category B' prison.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford. MK42 9AP.
- Fox, Lionel W The English Prison and Borstal Systems (1952, Routledge & Kegan Paul)
- Behan, Brendan Borstal Boy (1958, Hutchinson)
- Hutton, John Portland Borstal Institutution Miscellany Volume 2 (2018)
- Lodge, Jeremy Lowdham Grange. Borstal! (2014)
- No surviving local records identified at present.
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