Alexander Paterson: Prison Reformer
Title Details

456 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

33 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press

Alexander Paterson: Prison Reformer

by Harry Potter

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
  • Reviews
The first biography of the prison reformer Alexander Paterson (1884-1947).
Sir Alexander Paterson (1884-1947) is best remembered for his role as Commissioner of Prisons and as the individual responsible for some of the greatest British innovations in the field of penal practice. All major prison reforms of his day can be associated with his name. One of the key characteristics of Paterson's reform drive was that he brought a much more 'scientific' approach to penology, encouraging psychiatrists and psychologists to work in prison. He was the prime mover behind the rapid expansion and transformation of the Borstal System and the introduction of open prisons, gaining Britain an international reputation for being at the forefront of penal reform. Harry Potter's account is the first biography of Alexander Paterson and it is based on unpublished material from government and family archives. Besides his achievements as prison reformer, Paterson's life encapsulated many trends in English society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: from the influence of Liberalism and Unitarianism in the industrial heartland of his youth, the Idealist philosophy of Thomas Hill Green at Oxford, to the impact of school and university 'missions' in the dark reaches of London. At Oxford he became friends with Clement Atlee. He also knew the radical Winston Churchill and it was Churchill who in 1910 first appointed him to a leading role in the aftercare of prisoners. Paterson's most formative years were undoubtedly spent living in a slum dwelling in South London when he devoted his time and energy to the Oxford and Bermondsey Medical Mission, one of the university settlements so common at the time - Attlee famously spent years in Hailesbury boys' club and Toynbee Hall in the East End. Paterson went on to publish a best-selling book - Across the Bridges - on his experiences in the South London slums. After a distinguished service in the Great War, Paterson devoted the rest of his life to the prison service at home and to penal reform abroad. Given current debates about prison reform and the general challenges the penal system is facing, revisiting Paterson's life and work will be a timely endeavour. Harry Potter - criminal barrister, historian and former prison chaplain - is ideally suited to write this biography.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Preface: A Good and Useful Life
Family Tree

PART I - THE YOUNG IDEALIST: 1884-1914
1. Early Years and Influences: 1884-1902
2. Alma Mater: 1902-1906
3. Across the Bridges: 1906-1910
4. Bridging the Gap: 1911-1914

PART II - THE HAPPY WARRIOR: 1914-1922
5. Reading, Digging and Singing: 1914-1915
6. Waste of Muscle, Waste of Brain: 1916-1919
7. A Labour of Love: 1919-1922

PART III - PRISON COMMISSIONER: 1922-1945
8. Paterson's Light Horse: 1922-1934
9. Solvitur Perambulando: 1922-1924
10. The 'Paterson Era': 1922-1939
11. Prison Wallah: 1925-1926
12. Expert Witness: 1925-1933
13. The Transformation of Borstals: 1922-1930
14. Long March to Lowdham: 1930-1939
15. The Enigma of Harold Jones: 1921-1941
16. Voyage of Discovery: 1931
17. From Dartmoor to Berlin: 1932-1935
18. Strange New World: 1937
19. Policy, Progress and the Onset of War: 1938-1939
20. War Work: 1939-1943
21. West Africa and Malta: 1943-1944

PART IV - CROSSING THE BRIDGE: 1945-1947
22. Picking up the Pieces: 1945-1946
23. Death, Commemoration, Legacy: 1947-

Bibliography
Index

HARRY POTTER is a criminal barrister and the author of Hanging in Judgment: Religion and the Death penalty in England form the Bloody Code to Abolition (1993); Blood Feud: The Stewarts and Gordons at War in the Age of Mary Queen of Scots (2002); and Edinburgh Under Siege (2003). With Boydell & Brewer, he has authored Law, Liberty and the Constitution: A Short History of the Common Law (2015) and Shades of the Prison House: A History of Incarceration in the British Isles (2019).

"[This] biography is an excellent portrait of a fascinating man." The Western Front Association

Hardcover

9781783276677

March 2022

Buy

£45.00 / $65.00

Shipping Options

Buy Ships within 2 business days

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPDF)

9781800104457

March 2022

Buy

$24.95 / £19.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Ebook (EPUB)

9781800104464

March 2022

Buy

$24.95 / £19.99

Shipping Options

Buy

Purchasing options are not available in this country.

Title Details

456 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

33 b/w illus.

Imprint: Boydell Press