Prison Reform. (From an editorial)

The evidence tendered by Lt Col. Fearnside to the Jail Committee, at Coimbatore a day or two ago, is of a nature to arrest the attention of these who are interested in ameliorating the lot of the Indian prisoner. All the evidence tendered by Col. Fearnside is not to hand, but we may be excused for commenting on some important matters in which an experienced jail officer’s opinions are of exceptional interest. Apart from his suggestions and views on jail management and control, Colonel Fearnside’s evidence related to matters of wider application in which large sections of the public are interested; such as imprisonment for debt, the abolition of transportation to the Andamans, and Government competition with private enterprise. With regard to civil prisoners, Colonel Fearnside was of opinion that imprisonment for debt should be abolished as in England. But the Debtor’s Act imprisonment for debt was abolished in England in 1869, and it now exists only as a punishment in certain cases which involve fraud, misconduct, wilful disobedience to an order of the Court, and intention to abscond.

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