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The paramount question for the prison reformers was how to establish a rational and legitimated system of authority within the prison. The first part of the answer proposed by them was an authority of rules. These rules were to be applied to the staff no less than to prisoners. In place of the keeper's unlimited discretion, Howard laid out a sequence of custodial tasks, inspection tours, roll calls, and night patrols. Other rules were directed against trafficking, verbal abuse, fee-taking, and acts of physical cruelty. The rules were designed to win back the prisons .from their keepers by circumscribing the keepers' discretion; they were also designed to win them back from the prisoner subculture. The lives of the prisoners were to be routinized by institutional order. 'In place of the unwritten, customary, and corrupt division of power between criminals and custodi ans, the reformers proposed to subject both to the disciplines of a formal code enforced from the outside. '26

The second part of the reformers' answer to abuse of power was to ensure that the authority of rules was enforced by inspection through the superintendency of magistrates and by the democratic overview of the general public. In Bentham's model of the 'Panopticon,' the plan for a penitentiary published in 1791, both prisoners and guards were under the surveillance of inspectors. The model further envisaged free admission of the public to the inspection towers to keep the inspectors themselves under surveillance.27 It will be necessary to return to the central features of John Howard's strategy to control the abuse of power in the prison -the delineation of rules governing life inside the walls enforced by a system of inspection from outside -when considering the continuing role that rules and outside inspection play in controlling the abuses of power that have arisen in the Canadian penitentiary of the 1980s.

It is vital to realize that the authority of rules proposed by the eighteenth-century reformers had a dual purpose. 'They were an enumeration of the inmates' deprivation, but also a charter of their rights. They bound both sides of the institutional encounter in obedience to an impartial code enforced from outside. As such they reconciled the interests of the state, the custodians and the prisoners alike.'28 The regime of solitary confinement, which was the centre-piece of the new model of the prison, also had a dual purpose. It was designed to provide a rational punishment that was both the 'most terrible penalty' short of death that a society could inflict and 'the most humane.'29 That solitary confinement was conceived as a rational and humane form of suffering can be seen in this account written in 1792:

To be extracted from a world where he has endeavoured to confound the order of society. to be buried in a solitude where he had no companion but reflection. no counsellor but thought. the offender will find the severest punishment he can receive. The sudden change of scene that he experiences. the window which admits but a few rays of light. the midnight silence which surrounds him. all inspire him with a degree of horror which he never felt before. The impression is greatly heightened by his being obliged to think. No intoxicating cup benumbs his senses, no tumultuous revel dissipates his mind. Left alone and feelingly alive to the strings of remorse, he resolves on his present situation and connects it with that train of events which has banished him from society and placed him there.30

Such was the theory of the penitentiary -'in the silence of their cells,' superintended by authority too systematic to be evaded, too rational to be resisted, prisoners would surrender to the lash of remorse.' 31

It was this theory of the penitentiary that was embodied in the Penitentiary Act of 1779.32 Offenders convicted of crimes that otherwise would have rendered them liable for transportation were to be imprisoned for a maximum of two years. During the night they were to be confined in solitary cells, and were to labour in association by day. The labour was to be of the hardest and most servile kind. In place of the intermittent and inadequate diets provided by the county jails, there was to be a regular diet, prescribed by the act as 'bread and any coarse meat or other inferior food, and water or small beer.' William Blackstone, co-drafter of the act, elaborated on the idea of penitentiary confinement in the last edition of his Commentaries published before his death.

In framing the plan of these penitentiary houses, the principal objects were sobriety, cleanliness and medical assistance, by a regular series of labour, by solitary confinement during the intervals of work, by some religious instruction to preserve and amend the health of the unhappy offenders, to inure them to habits of industry. to guard them from pernicious company, to accustom them to serious reflection, to teach them both the principles and practice of every Christian and moral duty.33

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