I had recently talked with an online friend who is a medieval history buff. In our conversation I asked her somethings about prisons as I was trying to work through some plot issues I had in a new novella I have contracted. Much to my surprise, she informed me that prison in medieval times were not the punishment. They were actually just a holding place while the accused awaited a trial. So, that sent me digging a little more in another direction.
|Poultry Compter Operated from medieval times-1815
What I did learn is though prison was not used as punishment for crimes, there was one thing a person could do that would keep them incarcerated and that was to owe a debt, many times to the government. I found that interesting. Crimes were dealt with by punishments other than prison, while owing an unpaid debt could have your thrown in debtor's prison. Kind of seems like defeating the purpose of what they were seeking after.
|The Clink- Southwark, England. Operated from the 12th century through 1780. This is the prison that gave us the term, "in the clink".
By Spudgun67 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35676810
|Fleet Prison, London. Operated 1197-1844 "Pray remember ye poor debtors" inmates of the Fleet Prison beg passers by for alms
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=235905
|King's Bench Prison- Operated medieval times -1880
Debtor's prison didn't end with the medieval time period. Imprisonment for debt continued on into the 19th century. The Debtor's Act of 1869 reduced the numbers of those being incarcerated for debt, however it did not stop it all together. If a person had the means to pay a debt but refused to he could be thrown in debtor's prison for up to six weeks. And if a person owed a debt to the court, then once again he could find himself in debtor's prison.
What's your opinion on debtor's prison? Did it seem to defeat the purpose? Had you heard about debtors prison before this post? If you had what did was there anything that surprised you?
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Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.