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by Anthony Alba

So far this tour was proving a lot more interesting than she had expected. As the daughter of a prominent family and a rising star in the political arena, certain things were expected of her, and showing up at official engagements as the dutiful daughter was one of them. She even managed most of the time to look vaguely interested in what was going on.

Today there was no need to feign any interest. It was genuine. The invitation for her father had not been a surprise. After all, Sir Morgan Harris was the Chairperson of the Committee on Penal Reform and everyone agreed that he would be getting a ministerial office at the next reshuffle. It was only natural that he should be asked, but that the invitation had included her as well had been a bit of a surprise. Victoria did not like surprises. She much preferred to be the one springing the surprise, being on the receiving end never ended well as far as she was concerned.

And of course her dear father, the ever-inclusive stepfather, had managed to get Justine added to the invitation.

"It is important that we make her feel at home, Victoria. She is part of the family now." If she heard that one more time she might just scream.

She had agreed of course, but inwardly she groaned. Justine was the daughter of her new stepmother and just because her father had remarried he seemed to think that made Justine her stepsister. She neither wanted nor needed a stepsister, and even if she did, Justine would be the last choice on earth.

The girl was just a year younger than her own twenty and so uptight it was appalling. Worse she wanted to get to know Victoria, wanted to spend quality time with her and that simply would never do. Victoria had spent years carefully cultivating an image that she presented to both her family and the world. As far as everyone was concerned she was the dutiful daughter, the former Head Girl and now undergraduate who was interested in charity as well as active on the student union front. Why she was even captain of her polo team.

Having someone following her around had meant that Victoria had to seriously curtail her activities and that was something she was simply not prepared to do even in the medium term. She might be happy to act in a certain way but that did not mean that she was going to give up her fun. Not for anyone. With Justine hanging around there was a danger that her new 'step-sister' might discover too much about Victoria and, worse, she might spill the beans. Years of carefully cultivating a chosen image would be gone in seconds.

Dealing with Justine had been surprisingly easy, hardly a challenge at all. Now the girl was properly under her thumb and had joined the list of people who possibly knew the real Victoria but who equally would face ruin if even a hint of what they knew ever escaped their lips.

It was almost fun the way Justine looked so uncomfortable here. She had dutifully agreed to go, though she had expressed some unease at visiting a prison.

It was not a prison, her father had assured the girl. It was a Reform School, the first of several being set up across the country, an institution aimed at reducing the prison population and turning certain types of offenders around from their life of crime. Sir Morgan had been unable to fully contain his excitement. After all, the scheme had been partly his idea, something he and some other political friends had picked up on an information-gathering trip to America.

Their guide was a middle-aged man by the name of Donald Shepard. He seemed a pleasant enough sort for a reform school governor, but there was something about him that made Victoria wary. She had good instincts for people. How else could you manipulate someone if you don't understand what makes them tick? Something told her that beneath the affable exterior this man was no fool. It just meant that she would have to be extra careful around him.

She had dealt with clever people before and it simply required a different approach from the dull and stupid. People could often be trapped by their own cleverness if you approached things just right.

At first she had been convinced that this would be one of those occasions when, by the end of the day, her face would hurt from keeping her smile there. There had been security to pass through where they surrendered their phones and she had a moment of real heart-jolting concern when she realised that there might be a sniffer dog, but thankfully all there had been was some sort of machine that put a small computer chip of some sort just under the skin of her right hand. It was something to do with allowing the computers that monitored security to register them as guests and allow them access into secured areas.

Victoria had let that part of the briefing pass right over her. Geeks and their toys, who cared? When she met a geek who was either interesting or dangerous she would let them lock her up.

Things had picked up nearly from the beginning when they were escorted into the processing area. Victoria had feared they might be taken to the Governor's office and given some long boring lecture while meeting the occasional student who had been told to be on her best behaviour, but instead the Governor (who insisted that they call him Donald) explained that he wanted them to get a full view of life in the reformatory.

And a full view they were given. Seeing how the new inmates were processed had been an eye opener. Victoria had never really given much thought to what prison was like. It was not a place where she ever intended to find herself. It catered for the poor and the stupid, and she was neither.

When they arrived there were two new inmates being put through the system; delinquents, Donald had corrected her when she called them prisoners. They were down to their underwear when the small party had arrived on the scene and as each item of clothing or jewellery was handed over one of several wardens on duty there carefully recorded the item in a log before putting it away in one of two boxes. Victoria did not need to be told to understand. Those boxes would be locked away and only brought out when the period of detention was up.

One of the two inmates had balked at stripping completely. Perhaps it was the crowd that were looking at her; perhaps it was the fact that not all the wardens were women. That fact had shocked Victoria; she had assumed that most of the staff would be female. Justine had even gone as far as to gasp and protest. "Surely they can't be expected to undress in front of a man?"

"Most of our delinquents come here in lieu of a prison term," Donald had explained to them. "Their period of detention is shorter that the time they would spend in prison and they have no criminal record upon their release. In exchange for these advantages they surrender certain rights. While they will never be maimed or tortured they will be subject to humiliation and corporal punishment."

As soon as she heard that, Victoria knew that the tour might not be as bad as she had feared. But of course Miss Prim had been shocked. "Corporal punishment, you mean that you hit them?"

Donald nodded. Then, seeing her concerns, he moved to reassure her. "We do not torture here. Our methods may appear harsh but they are not the product of a group of sadists. Everything we do here is aimed at breaking down the Delinquents so that we can shape them and build them back up to return to society as productive law abiding citizens."

"The re-offending rates for reformatory delinquents is very low, almost non existent compared to the recidivism rates of prisons," Sir Morgan had chipped in.

"Well as long as it's legal and it serves a purpose, I suppose it's alright." Victoria kept her voice neutral. "When I was Head Girl at school, I often had to punish girls who broke school rules outside of the class room. Neither of us enjoyed it but it did teach the girls that they had to follow the rules or there would be consequences."

The lie came easily to her lips, although keeping the smile at bay as fond memories sprang to mind was harder. Normally she liked to exercise power indirectly. If you got what you wanted and got other people to do it, it insulated you in case anything went wrong. Of course upon occasion there were some tasks simply too vital to entrust to anyone else. And there was no substitute for putting another human into a position where they were completely at your mercy. What better symbolised this power than having a younger girl bend over the back of a chair as you pulled down her panties and applied a good plimsoll to her behind?

Just thinking about those times was still enough to bring her pleasure at night in bed. Surprisingly some of the girls she had punished developed a crush on her afterwards. Affection for someone who had just blistered your bottom was a concept Victoria simply could not understand. Perhaps it was a hazard of attending an all girls' boarding school. Whatever the cause, it had been useful. Some of those girls had been willing to do almost anything she wanted.

When the delinquent refused to undress further, Victoria had been greeted with her first example of reformatory discipline. Officers had bent her over the admissions desk and a thin rod or switch had been produced and the rebel had received a good switching.

For some reason they avoided her bottom, which was a shame. The panties she was wearing looked like they were from some common department store, not at all like the expensive lacy numbers Victoria favoured, but she doubted they would have provided any protection to the ample posterior. Still one could not have everything and she had to settle for watching them targeting the backs of the legs.

At school they had been restricted to the slipper, with the more seldom used cane reserved for the most serious of offences and used only by the Head, the Deputy Head or the Form Mistresses. The switch was no cane but it made the most delicious sound as it cut through the air and it quickly left six fiery red stripes across the backs of her thighs. Victoria was not sure which she enjoyed the most. The way the thin red lines appeared across her pale skin or the way she struggled and screamed and finally cried to no effect. With two wardens holding her upper body onto the desk she could not escape. Her pleas at the end that she would do as she was told were certainly amusing.

"It is vital that new delinquents realise that when they are given an order it must be obeyed irrespective of their personal opinions on the matter," Donald explained quietly to them as the sobbing girl was allowed to get up from the desk.

From the way she was clutching her thighs and dancing around one might have thought she had been properly whipped. It was an enjoyable sight to be sure but once again it confirmed to Victoria that the lower classes had no backbone, no sense of their own dignity. Perhaps it was because they simply did not have any. Surely a woman of breeding would take her switching with more grace that than.

"We are being cruel to be kind, Miss," he added as he looked in Justine's direction.

© Anthony Alba
Not to be reposted, reproduced or distributed, in part or whole.