Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 10. 24 May 1972
The first step towards the development of a prison system in England was an Act of 1779 which authorised the construction of government penitentiaries. Its preamble stated that if criminals "were ordered to solitary imprisonment, accompanied by well regulated labour and religious intruction, it might be the means, under providence, not only of deterring others from the commission of like crimes, but also of reforming the individuals, and inuring them to habits of industry." The need for such a system had arisen because of the loss of the American Colonies to which criminals had in the past been transported.