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Letter 3d

23 Nov 1802

XVI. Improved prisons

Pennsylvania too and in New York, the whole system of
penal justice is invigorated by the abolition of capital
punishment, as above: in the manner already mentioned: while in
England the debility resulting from the opposite excess
(by debility I mean the relaxation that pervades the whole system of procedure)
is such, as can not be compensated in any by the utmost of efficacy
of such local and partial improvements.

Would Your Lordship's have supposed it?—It is
upon the very merits—the acknowledged, or at any rate alledged merits, of the Penitentiary
system, in these its less perfect form that the opposition
hostility to it in its more perfect form has grounded itself. So
well has the system succeeded in this and that Country the countries, that for that
very reason there is to be none for England:—so well has
it succeeded upon a small scale, that it is not to be
suffered to display appear shew itself upon a large scale: so well has have
the existing prisons succeeded at an extravagant enormous rate of expence, that for
that very reason a still better prison is not to be suffered to be built it is not to be borne with at
a tenth, a fifteenth, or a twentieth part of that expence. So determined peremptory
strenuous was the determination of
our gentlemen to cover the country with possible prisons unthought of prisons not yet
thought of by Parliament, that it is for that very reason they
it was determined not to have the one prison, that had been
so long ago and so repeatedly been prescribed by Parliament.

In the instance alluded
to, the very
merits of the penitentiary
system were
alledged by the D of P as a ground
for refusing to
carry it into effect
in the only instance
in which he had it
in his power.

Yes my Lord: I mention
all as due which would be
as matters of consolation
to some men and may
be not and as what may altogether unworthy of
Your Lordship's notice as
a proof that secret influence
and sacrifice of
public interest to private
caprice and corrupt

The conclusion made by the patrons and
organizers/ managers conductors of the most improved of all these improved prisons
has been somewhat different.The In Yes, my Lord: it is among the most distinguished
of its rivals that that the panopticon plan has ever found
the most generous of its supporters, the most cordial of its
well-wishers, the most genuine of its supporters .

Persons who it might be assumed without much danger one might almost to of mistake
never/ saw the inside of a prison in their whole lives—persons
by much too high to have ever bestowed upon any such
low subject any thing that can be called a thought+ such thus
it is by such lovers of improvements that and by the lovers of such improvements
are therefore by whom that the penitentiary system in its most
improved form have been consigned to "relinquishment", and the authority
that prescribed it, to contempt

+ persons who are so
much at home in "improved"
prisons as they
are in "improved" Colonies

Identifier: | JB/116/553/001
"JB/" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 116.



Marginal Summary Numbering




Main Headings

panopticon versus new south wales

Folio number


Info in main headings field

letter 3d






Number of Pages




Page Numbering

e6 / f17


jeremy bentham



jeremy bentham

Paper Producer


jeremy bentham

Paper Produced in Year

Notes public

letter was never sent; see note 8 to letter 1747, vol. 7

ID Number


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