My dissertation considers the development of the prison, as both a punishment and an institution, in the London metropolis, including urban Middlesex and Surrey, from the eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. Following the example of John Beattie, I examine the prison through a wider study of the criminal justice system. Consequently my study combines quantitative analysis of prison commitment patterns with qualitative analysis of prison management. I argue that the groups with authority to incarcerate individuals increasingly assigned specialised roles to the prisons under their jurisdiction from the mid-eighteenth century onward. These patterns of committal practice fundamentally affected the way in which prisons were managed and operated, and moreover, how prisoners experieced confinement.