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Before the Wars

Churchill as Reformer (1910 – 1911)- With a Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert


Alan Baxendale

Winston Churchill will be forever known as the great statesman who bravely led Britain through the war years, but what led the young Churchill down this path to greatness? What motivated him to become the future leader?
Delving into documentary records in the Home Office archive, Alan S. Baxendale brings to light the young Churchill’s war at home while Home Secretary from February 1910 to October 1911. Passionate about reforming prison treatment and sentencing, Churchill engaged with his senior Home Office staff and His Majesty’s Prison Commissioners in a daily discussion of the business of criminal justice. With a focus on his working methods and relationships with his staff, Baxendale offers a new look at Churchill as a young and talented politician whose leadership led to innovative reforms that are still influential today.
This book makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the criminal justice system, providing a crucial addition to our understanding of the history of prison reform. It also gives us valuable insight into Churchill as a person, shedding light on his formative years as a minister and providing us with important clues to how he became one of the most successful politicians of modern times.


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Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert vii Author’s Preface xi Acknowledgements xiii Chapter 1 Mr Secretary Churchill, 19 February 1910 1 Chapter 2 The Home Office and the Prison Commission: Dramatis Personae 9 Chapter 3 Treatment of the Gladstonian Legacy 41 Chapter 4 Humanizing Convict and Local Prison Regimes: Churchill’s Initiatives 65 Chapter 5 Young Offenders 101 Chapter 6 Preventive Detention 111 Chapter 7 Abatement of Imprisonment: Draft Administration of Justice Bill, 8 April 1911 129 vi Chapter 8 The Royal Prerogative of Mercy: Churchill and the Judiciary 155 Chapter 9 Churchill’s Penal Thought and Practice: An Assessment 165 Notes 175 Bibliography 213 Index 223

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