‘A very great escape’
Prisons
in ‘A most diabolical deed’
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This chapter focuses on the twenty-nine women sentenced to death for the crime of infant murder. It examines the features that influenced the Lord Lieutenant's decision to commute capital punishments, the reality of the commuted sentences and the factors that affected the release of women convicted of infant murder from prison. There were a number of factors that influenced the Lord lieutenant who commuted sentences of death passed on Irish women for the murder of their infants. Petitions for clemency submitted from family, friends, neighbours and interested parties were considered by the Lord lieutenant in his decision to commute a sentence of death. Although many women convicted of infant murder maintained regular contact with family members and friends while in prison, a number opted to emigrate on release.

‘A most diabolical deed’

Infanticide and Irish Society, 1850–1900

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