13 February 2013
Last updated at 13:22
Bedford Prison began taking photos of criminals in 1859 to serve as a deterrent to crime. Governor Robert Evans Roberts was convinced the practice reduced petty crime as "tramps and vagrants" started to avoid areas where photography was deployed. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Services holds the archives.
Most of the 192 photographs capture minor criminals, including James Thody who stole a pair of trousers, a waistcoat and a scarf.
The digital copies of the documents, which can be viewed by the public, show how additional information was collected about the criminals, including Albert Rust and his list of tattoos.
The majority of the prisoners were men, but a few women were captured. Several had a number of aliases, including Margaret Wilson who went by at least four other names.
Robert Toll, who was said to have been "slightly built" and had seven children, was sentenced for 10 years for stealing barley. It was not his first offence.
Levi Welch, pictured, was cleared of a murder charge following a highway robbery. His accomplice, William Worsley, was hanged for the murder while Welch was jailed for the robbery.
The prison was built in 1801 and is still in use. The photos, including this one of Charles Money, who mugged Joseph Morris for 30 penny postage stamps, date from 1859-1876.
Arthur Ford, 18, burgled two houses in 1876. The online database is still being added to and can be viewed on the Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service's website.