In 1840, Alexander Maconochie, a privileged retired naval captain, became, at his own request, superintendent of 2000 twice-convicted prisoners on Norfolk Island, a thousand miles off the coast of Australia. In four years, Maconochie transformed what was one of the most brutal convict settlements in history into a controlled, stable, and productive environment that achieved such success that upon release his prisoners came to be called Maconochie's Gentlemen. Here Norval Morris, a renowned criminologist, offers an inventive and engaging account of this early pioneer in penal reform, enhancing Maconochie's life story with a trenchant policy twist. Maconochie's life and efforts on Norfolk Island, Morris shows, provide a model with profound relevance to the running of correctional institutions today. Using a combination of fictionalized history and critical commentary, Morris gives this work a powerful policy impact. In an era of mass incarceration that rivals that of the settlement of Australia, Morris injects the question of humane treatment back into the debate over prison reform.
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