Hariett has a long criminal recorded dating back to the early 1850's.
What's so interesting is she was convicted of larceny and was placed in a goal in 1860 and asked for clemency.
I am not an expert at old English records, but I am learning. The documents I found are not only interesting they are beautiful. The writing and all the details are just breath taking.
Here's part of Hariett's criminal story.
Name: Harriet Abbotts
Estimated birth year: abt 1827
Date Convicted: 2 Apr 1860
Court Convicted: Staffordshire, Sessions, Stafford
Convicted Of: Larceny
Sentence: 3 years penal servitude
Licence Number: 1235
Date of Licence: 30 Sep 1862
As you may notice it lists some of her Committals and convection's from 1860-1862, Committal 30 Mar 1860
Conviction 2 Apr 1860
Removed from County Prison Stafford
5 Jun 1860
Received in Millbank 5 Jun 1860
Removed from Millbank 20 Sep 1861
Received in Brixston Prison 20 Sep 1861
Finally being discharged on 10 Mar 1862.
|Brixson Female Prison|
In the previous century Jeremy Bentham had dreamt up a novel idea for a prison construction: a 'Panopticon', built in a star shape with radiating wings, so that daylight and fresh air reached every cell and, more importantly, the warders could oversee every wing from a central core. They were certainly an improvement on the old medieval prisons. Bentham’s first creation, Millbank, had been built in 1821. Pentonville prison was built on the edge of the built‐up area of north London, on a semi‐circular radial plan, in 1842.
It was not a place to be, although many were better off having meals to eat and medical resources they wouldn't otherwise have because of cost. As you can see in Hariett's case she had no occupation. While she was incarcerated she learned a trade to help her when she was released.
I did not find her death record or who her children were but I hope she had a better life. I did n't find any later criminal records either so she either got herself together and lived a productive life or she died shortly after leaving prison.
I know our prisons are now better than they were but I feel there could still be more improvements.