In 1851 the County of Hastings passed By Law #5, believing it was only expedient and proper to provide for the proper correction of a person who was committed to jail for minor offences. They believed that such offenders should not spend their time in idelness during their period of confinement.
" Be it therefore enacted…………………
That any mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced, shall during the period of confinement, work at his own proper trade, the County furnishing materials, and the produce of the labour shall be disposed of for the benefit of the County and the funds paid into the hands of the Treasurer,
And that any person not a mechanic who shall be convicted and sentenced, shall during the period of his or her confinement be set at such works as the Guardian of the House of Correction shall deem advisable, and the produce of their labour shall be disposed of in like manner and for the same purposes as set forth in the second section of this by-law."
And don't think you can get out of the work too easily! The By-law went on to say:
"And that it shall be lawful for the Guardian to confine any prisoner to solitary confinement in any cell, who shall refuse to labour or work as required by the provisions of this By-law and pending such solitary confinement, the fare of such prisoner shall be bread and water."
We have yet to find the proof that this By-Law was rescinded!