Commenter jimmyriddle points out the similarities between the London Bridge massacre of the poor deincarceration activists by their own pet whom they’d helped spring from prison and the third act of Evelyn Waugh’s 1928 first novel Decline and Fall in which mild-mannered Paul Pennyfeather, former penniless school master turned High Society bridegroom, is sent to prison, where the new governor has advanced notions:
Sir Wilfred Lucas-Dockery had not been intended by nature or education for the Governor of a prison; his appointment was the idea of a Labour Home Secretary who had been impressed by an appendix on the theory of penology which he had contributed to a report on the treatment of ‘Conscientious Objectors’. Up to that time Sir Wilfred had held the Chair of Sociology at a Midland university; only his intimate friends and a few specially favoured pupils knew that behind his mild and professional exterior he concealed an ardent ambition to serve in the public life of his generation. …
Colonel MacAdder, his predecessor in office, a veteran of numberless unrecorded campaigns on the Afghan frontier, had said to him on his retirement: ‘Good luck, Sir Wilfred! If I may give you a piece of advice, it’s this. Don’t bother about the lower warders or the prisoners. Give hell to the man immediately below you, and you can rely on him to pass it on with interest. If you make prison bad enough, people’ll take jolly good care to keep out of it. That’s been my policy all through, and I’m proud of it’ (a policy which soon became quite famous in the society of Cheltenham Spa).
Sir Wilfred, however, had his own ideas. ‘You must understand,’ he said to Paul, ‘that it is my aim to establish personal contact with each of the men under my care. I want you to take a pride in your prison and in your work here. So far as possible, I like the prisoners to carry on with their avocations in civilized life. What was this man’s profession, officer?’
‘White Slave traffic, sir.’
‘Ah, yes. Well, I’m afraid you won’t have much opportunity for that here. … Are you an extravert or an introvert?’
‘I’m afraid I’m not sure, sir.’
‘So few people are. I’m trying to induce the Home Office to install an official psycho-analyst. Do you read the New Nation, I wonder? There is rather a flattering article this week about our prison called The Lucas-Dockery Experiments. I like the prisoners to know these things. It gives them corporate pride.”
Sir Wilfred’s Lucas-Dockery Experiments result in much the same outcome as the Cambridge Learning Together experiments, although reality proved more on-the-nose than Waugh’s fiction.
By the way, Decline and Fall is a great read, a painless introduction to Waugh.