Saturday, February 23, 2008

Prison Doors Never Locked


Odd Place for "Confinement" on Sark, One of the Beautiful Channel Islands

Sark, the loveliest of the channel islands, possesses a quaint old prison of two cells, more as a matter of form than of necessity; for serious crime is almost unknown in the island, which has no paid police, but simply an elected constable. It is some years since the prison was called into requisition, and on the last occasion the bolt was found to be so rusty that it had to be broken before the door could be opened. The prisoner was then put in, left all night with the door open, and made no attempt to escape.

On another occasion a young English servant, who had stolen some clothes, was sentenced to three days' imprisonment. The prospect so terrified her that the authorities took pity on her loneliness and considerately left the cell open. The little maid sat in the doorway and was consoled by kindhearted Sark women, who came to her company.

A still more curious incident is told of a man who was convicted for neglecting his wife and children. He was ordered to betake himself to the prison and there wait for the arrival of the constable. This he did sitting outside until the door was opened to let him in.

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