chapter  XII
Pages 21

PRISONS, a hundred years ago, were vastly different from the prisons of to-day. We are accustomed to congratulate ourselves on the vast advances made in penal administration and to dwell on the vast good done by the early penal reformers -Jeremy Bentham and Sir Samuel Romilly among themwho at that time led the agitation for better conditions. The change, however, has not been all to the advantage of the prisoner. The jails of a hundred years ago were pestilential places, in which all sorts and descriptions of offenders were herded together, with scant regard for even the most obvious sanitary precautions. But solitary confinement was a rarity, and the ordinary prisoner had at least human companionship. It may be that some of the sanitarily imprisoned of to-day would willingly change their lot, and take the chance of jail-fever in prisons of the old sort.