Whether the flogging of prisoners in gaols for breaches of discipline is good policy or not is a question in regard to which experts may and do entertain very different opinions. But there will be little disposition in any quarter, we should think, to criticise adversely the provision of the new Prisons Act that such punishment shall only be inflicted in cases of mutiny and violence, and then after judicial inquiry by a Board of visiting justices, with a stipendiary magistrate to act with them if necessary, and after ratification of the sentence by the Secretary of State. This reform in the law will achieve several desirable ends. It will confine what is, under any circumstances, a brutal punishment to cases of real gravity and brutality; it will protect prisoners against the whims to which even visiting justices are subject; and it will secure that uniformity of practice in regard to prison floggings which has hitherto in England been conspicuous by its absence.
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