The prison in Malta : 1850-1870 and 1931-1951
This thesis explores, through archival research, the development of the modern prison in Malta at two important points in its history. The date of the inception of Corradino prison in 1850 and the enactment of the 1931 regulations influenced by the Patterson reform. It takes a three-pronged approach of prison regulations, prison practice and prisoners to explain the happenings of the prison. This archival research also explores the tenth and twentieth year from the enactment of the regulations to enable an analysis of the adoption of prison practice vis-à-vis the prison regulations through data categories. Each era is explored through the architectural structure, the prisoners’ profiles, the prison routine, the prison discipline, the prisoners’ work, their diet and the workers in prison (the data categories) which feed and were fed by the hypothesis which in turn feed the theoretical approach which also inspired the hypothesis. This research confirms the three hypotheses under study. The first, being that, the prison regulations moved from being aimed at deterrence and retribution to the punishment of the soul and rehabilitation. The second hypothesis addressed prison practice in that it moved from being austere to a softer mode of punishment. The third hypothesis concluded that the prisoners’ profiles did not change much during a hundred years. These hypotheses were analysed through a four-pronged theoretical approach, which the researcher called ‘change in thinking’, ‘change in sensibilities’, ‘commitment to discipline’ and ‘the needs of the state’. This thesis starts with a short introduction, followed by the literature review where the theoretical perspective is explained. This in turn leads to an explanation of the method and the problems encountered during the research. The data from the research is presented in four chapters. The first two chapters analyse the 1850-1870 era while the second two chapters, address the 1931-1951 era. The concluding chapter brings together the findings from the previous chapters and accepts the hypotheses. The research shows that the Maltese authorities were heavily influenced by the English colonial powers in the running of the prison. However, in 1850 the running of the Maltese prison seems more advanced than that of the English prison, while in 1931 the opposite is true, with the Patterson reforms, having to wait until after the war to be put in practice.