Joseph Akeroyd: rediscovering a prison reformer

Wilson, R 2014, Joseph Akeroyd: rediscovering a prison reformer, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Joseph Akeroyd: rediscovering a prison reformer
Author(s) Wilson, R
Year 2014
Abstract School teacher Joseph Akeroyd was appointed Inspector General of Victoria’s prisons in 1924. He held this role until 1947 becoming the longest serving Inspector General in Victoria’s history. However Akeroyd’s reform and legacies were recognised only in part. Examination of his private papers within the context of popular criminological theories demonstrated that Akeroyd single-mindedly pursued a positivist agenda to reform approaches to prison and prisoner management. Akeroyd’s fought private and public battles in his drive to reform in the areas of education in prisons, classification, sentencing and punishment.

The examination of Akeroyd’s influence in shaping prison and prisoner management reform in Victoria and the processes he used unearthed three broad key discoveries; there was significant reform activity in the Victorian prison system in which Joseph Akeroyd was pivotal in his role as Inspector General at that time; there was robust public debate about differing ways to manage crime and criminality; and there was an emergence of criminological thinking predating trends in USA and UK many years later. These discoveries contradicted previous claims there was little or no prison and prisoner management reform in this period. It is clear Joseph Akeroyd played a central role in laying foundation for long term prison and prisoner management legacies through his education led reform.

This study provides a fresh perspective on the nature and extent of transparent and opaque reform in prison and prisoner management in Victoria in the period 1924 – 1947 under Akeroyd’s education inspired leadership. Through access to his personal documentation, Akeroyd’s role in establishing Victoria’s unique relationship between education and prison management can now be recognised and acknowledged.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) prisoner education
prison reform
prisoner management
transparent reform
opaque reform
Joseph Akeroyd
criminological theories and prisoner education
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Created: Wed, 17 Jun 2015, 13:25:17 EST by Denise Paciocco
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