Prison Act 1877

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1877 c. 21


Prison Act, 1877

(40 & 41 Vict.) CHAPTER 21.

An Act to amend the Law relating to Prisons in England.

[12th July 1877]

B E it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Preliminary.

Preliminary.

S-1 Short title of Act.

1 Short title of Act.

1. This Act may be cited for all purposes as thePrison Act, 1877.

S-2 Commencement of Act.

2 Commencement of Act.

2. This Act shall, except as is herein-after otherwise provided, and, except in so far as relates to the making of rules by the Secretary of State, in pursuance of any power transferred to or vested in the Secretary of State by this Act, which rules may be made at any time after the passing of this Act, come into operation on the first day of April one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, which day is herein-after referred to as the commencement of this Act.

S-3 Application of Act.

3 Application of Act.

3. This Act shall not extend to Scotland or Ireland, but shall apply to all prisons belonging to any prison authority as defined by the Prison Act, 1865.

I Transfer and Administration of Prisons.

PART I.

Transfer and Administration of Prisons.

Transfer of Prisons.

Transfer of Prisons.

S-4 Maintenance of prisons and prisoners out of public funds.

4 Maintenance of prisons and prisoners out of public funds.

4. On and after the commencement of this Act all expenses incurred in respect of the maintenance of prisons to which this Act applies, and of the prisoners therein, shall be defrayed out of moneys provided by Parliament.

S-5 Prisons to vest in Secretary of State.

5 Prisons to vest in Secretary of State.

5. Subject as in this Act mentioned—

(1) (1.) The prisons to which this Act applies, and the furniture and effects belonging thereto; also

(2) (2.) The appointment of all officers, and the control and safe custody of the prisoners in the prisons to which this Act applies; also all powers and jurisdiction at common law or by Act of Parliament or by charter vested in or exerciseable by prison authorities or the justices in sessions assembled, in relation to prisons or prisoners within their jurisdiction,

shall, on and after the commencement of this Act, be transferred to, vested in, and exercised by one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, in this Act referred to as the Secretary of State.

Prison Commissioners.

Administration of Prisons.

S-6 Appointment of Prison Commissioners.

6 Appointment of Prison Commissioners.

6. For the purpose of aiding the Secretary of State in carrying into effect the provisions of this Act relating to prisons, Her Majesty may, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, at any time and from time to time after the passing of this Act by warrant under her sign manual appoint any number of persons to be Commissioners during Her Majesty's pleasure, so that the whole number of Commissioners appointed do not at any one time exceed five, and may, on the recommendation of the Secretary of State, on the occasion of any vacancy in the office of any Commissioner by death, resignation, or otherwise, by the like warrant, appoint some other fit person to fill such vacancy. The Commissioners so appointed shall be a body corporate with a common seal, with power to hold land without license in mortmain so far as may be necessary for the purposes of this Act, and shall be styled ‘The Prison Commissioners.’

The Secretary of State may from time to time appoint one of the Commissioners to be chairman.

Any act or thing required or authorised to be done by the Prison Commissioners may be done by any one or more of them as the Secretary of State may by general or special rule direct.

S-7 Appointment of inspectors, officers, and servants.

7 Appointment of inspectors, officers, and servants.

7. The Prison Commissioners shall be assisted in the performance of their duties by such number of inspectors, storekeepers, accountants, and other officers and servants as may, with the sanction of the Treasury as to number, be determined by the Secretary of State. The inspectors shall be appointed by the Secretary of State, the other officers and servants of the Prison Commissioners by the Prison Commissioners themselves, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.

S-8 Salaries.

8 Salaries.

8. There may be paid, out of moneys provided by Parliament, to all or any one or more of the Prison Commissioners such salary for their or his services as the Secretary of State may, with the consent of the Treasury, determine.

There shall be paid, out of moneys provided by Parliament, to the inspectors and other officers and servants of the Prison Commissioners such salaries as the Secretary of State may, with the consent of the Treasury, determine.

S-9 Duties of Prison Commissioners. 28 & 29 Vict. c. 126.

9 Duties of Prison Commissioners. 28 & 29 Vict. c. 126.

9. The general superintendence of prisons under this Act shall be vested in the Prison Commissioners, subject to the control of the Secretary of State.

Subject as in this Act mentioned, the Prison Commissioners shall appoint all such officers of a prison as are by the Prison Act, 1865, declared to be subordinate officers of a prison, such appointments to be for general prison service. The Prison Commissioners shall also make contracts, and do all other acts necessary for the maintenance of the prisons and prisoners within their jurisdiction.

Subject to the control of the Secretary of State, the Prison Commissioners, by themselves or their officers, shall visit and inspect the prisons within their jurisdiction, and shall examine into the state of the buildings, so as to form a judgment as to the repairs, additions, or alterations which may appear necessary, regard being had to the requisitions of the Prison Act, 1865, as amended by this Act, with respect to the separation of prisoners and enforcement of hard labour, and shall further examine into the conduct of the respective officers and the treatment and conduct of the prisoners, the means of setting them to work, the amount of their earnings, and the expenses attending the prison, and shall inquire into all abuses within the prison, and regulate all matters required to be regulated by them.

Subject to the control of the Secretary of State, the Prison Commissioners, or any one or more of them, may, in addition to any powers otherwise conferred on them by this Act, exercise in relation to any prison under this Act, and the prisoners therein, all powers and jurisdiction by any Act of Parliament or at common law, or by charter, exerciseable by visiting justices, or a visiting justice, of a prison. And any reports, acts, or things required to be made or done to or by or in relation to the visiting justices, or a visiting justice, of a prison, at common law or by any Act of Parliament, or by charter, shall, except in so far as is otherwise provided by this Act, be made or done to or by or in relation to the Prison Commissioners, or any one or more of them, or to or by or in relation to such persons or person as the Secretary of State may from time to time appoint.

The Prison Commissioners shall, in the exercise of their powers and jurisdiction under this Act, conform to any directions which may from time to time be given to them by the Secretary of State.

S-10 Reports by Prison Commissioners.

10 Reports by Prison Commissioners.

10. The Prison Commissioners shall, at such time or times as the Secretary of State may direct, make a report or reports to the Secretary of State of the condition of the prisons and prisoners within their jurisdiction, and an annual report to be made by them with respect to every prison within their jurisdiction shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

S-11 Report to contain information as to manufacturing processes in prison.

11 Report to contain information as to manufacturing processes in prison.

11. Whereas it is expedient that the expense of maintaining in prison prisoners who have been convicted of crime should in part be defrayed by their labour during the period of their imprisonment, and that, with a view to defraying such expenses, and also of teaching prisoners modes of gaining honest livelihoods, means should be taken for promoting in prison the exercise of and instruction in useful trades and manufactures, so far as may be consistent with a due regard on the one hand to the maintenance of the penal character of prison discipline, and on the other to the avoidance of undue pressure on or competition with any particular trade or industry: Be it enacted, that the annual report of the Prison Commissioners required by this Act to be laid before both Houses of Parliament shall state the various manufacturing processes carried on in each of the prisons within their jurisdiction, and such statement shall contain such particulars as to the kind and quantities of, and as to the commercial value of the labour on the manufactures, as to the number of prisoners employed, and otherwise, as may, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, be best calculated to afford information to Parliament.

S-12 Return of punishments and offences of prisoners to be made yearly.

12 Return of punishments and offences of prisoners to be made yearly.

12. The Prison Commissioners shall make a yearly return to Parliament of all punishments of any kind whatsoever which may have been inflicted within each prison, and the offences for which such punishments were inflicted.

Visiting Committee of Justices.

Visiting Committee of Justices.

S-13 Repeal of 28 & 29 Vict. c. 126. ss. 53, 54.

13 Repeal of 28 & 29 Vict. c. 126. ss. 53, 54.

13. On and after the commencement of this Act there shall be repealed the fifty-third and fifty-fourth sections of the Prison Act, 1865, relating to the appointment and duties of visiting justices.

A visiting committee shall be...

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