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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 56

The Warders

The Warders.

The Prison System of Great Britain, notwithstanding various important improvements which have been made during the past half-century, still requires a constant vigilance on the part of the public. It is one of the objects of the Howard Association to promote and maintain this, especially as to certain points of the administration.

One of these is the position and treatment of the Warders, to which during the past year the Committee have continued to direct attention. For notwithstanding the efforts already put forth for improvements in this direction, as to the insufficient numbers, and the too-prolonged hours of duty of these officers, their condition still needs further amelioration at the hands of the chief authorities. However, it is gratifying to notice some progress during the past year.

The Under Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mr. John T. Hibbert, M.P., in a courteous letter to the Secretary of the Howard Association, dated May 5, 1884, wrote as follows:—"With respect to your page 11 remarks about the necessity for an increase of the number of Warders, I am glad to say that we have just authorised the appointment of twenty-one additional Warders for night duty, and asked the Treasury to assent to the provision of a free meal for the night warders."

About the same time the Lord Mayor of London, Mr. Robert N. Fowler, at the request of this Association, drew the further attention of the Home Office to the matter, in the House of Commons, and was informed that besides the increase of night warders, the higher ranks of subordinate warders have had some additional leave of absence. It was added that the Treasury officers of the Government are of opinion that if it be desirable to alter the general terms of retirement for the convict service, it should be done by special legislation. This the Secretary of State is not prepared at present to undertake.

It is to be hoped that from time to time further improvements may be secured in reference to the selection and condition of these officers.

A still larger proportion of Warders to prisoners is one of the pressing needs of some of the prisons, especially those for convicts.