The Brown Commission also commented on the principle of outside inspection.
The Penitentiary Act of 1835 had established a local board of inspectors
with a general jurisdiction to superintend the administration of Kingston.
The commission found that this board had proved inadequate to the task
of controlling the abuses and excesses of the warden. The commission,
having 'pointed out how likely the unrestricted and continued exercise
of arbitrary power is to degenerate into apathy or tyranny,'26
recommended that in place of the local board of inspectors there be appointed
national inspectors directly responsible to the executive of the government
with an expanded authority to make rules and regulations, and with clearly
defined duties to visit and inquire into the management of the penitentiary.
The recommendations of the Brown Commission were clearly within the tradition
of John Howard and the prison reform movement. What was to be sought in
the carrying out of discipline within the prison walls, if it was to operate
as a catalyst for moral transformation, was the reestablishment of the
moral legitimacy of punishment. To Howard and the Brown Commission this
meant that the jailer, with his virtually unfettered discretion, had to
be rendered accountable to the authority of rules and to outside supervision
and that the punishment must meet the strictest standards of justice.
To their European counterparts such as Decazes, commenting on French penal
discipline, it meant that 'the law must follow the convicted man into
the prison where it has sent him.'27
Page 4 of 4