John T. Burt

John T. Burt, Pentonville Prison

Little is know about John Thomas Burt aside from his publications about prison conditions in nineteenth century England and Ireland. Results of the system of separate confinement as administered at the Pentonville Prison, published in 1852, is Burt’s comprehensive study of the implementation of the separate system at Pentonville Prison in London. The separate system was a popular prison reform in the nineteenth century that originated in Pennsylvania. Burt found the system, in which prisoners were kept in individual cells and talking was limited, to be effective. It was severe enough to encourage prisoners to improve themselves and lower recidivism rates, while remaining humane.