Tuesday 28 July 2020

Elizabeth Fry (UK, 1976)

Elizabeth Fry was a British social reformer in the early 19th century who championed the rights of prisoners for more humane treatment.

In 1813, she visited Newgate Prison and was shocked at the overcrowded and insanitary conditions suffered by female prisoners and their children. She brought in food and clothes, then went on to set up a school for the children of prisoners. She worked with prisoners to agree regimes and rules rather than imposing them. She also helped set up skills programmes so that female prisoners could learn sewing trades and have opportunities for work once released. She also emphasised the need for dignity in transporting prisoners, to avoid the mobbed streets hurling abuse as prisoners were moved in open carts and to try to abolish prisoner transportations overseas.

As well as her work with prisoners, she set up homeless shelters, campaigned for the abolition of slavery, opened a training school for nurses and was the first woman to present evidence to Parliament (in 1818).


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