Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry, 1780-1845, Newgate Prison

Elizabeth Fry was born to a prominent Quaker family in Norwich, England. Though her family’s religious beliefs diminished over time, Fry remained committed to her faith, which led her to work with the female prisoners at Newgate Prison. In 1816, Fry formed a group of twelve volunteers who regularly visited the women at Newgate; so began the “Newgate Experiment.” Their most notable achievements include establishing a school for the prisoners’ children, which inmates later attended as well, and founding the Association for the Improvement of the Female Prisoners at Newgate in 1817. The Association authored a mission statement and the “Newgate Rules,” which focused on self-governance.