University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

  • John Michael Moore
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Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)510-530
Number of pages21
JournalHistorical Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2016


In March 1849 Alexander Maconochie, the former superintendent of the Norfolk Island penal settlement in colonial Australia and inventor of the ‘mark system’ of reformative penal discipline, was appointed by the Birmingham magistrates as the governor of the borough's newly constructed prison. This article tells the story of the two years Maconochie spent at Birmingham prison, highlighting the illegal and abusive practices that he introduced there. It argues that, despite the reformative rhetoric portraying his approach to penal discipline as benevolent and humanitarian, Maconochie's regime relied heavily on coercion and corporal punishment.

ID: 17244084