This extract comes from an article in The Times newspaper published on 7 March 1893. In the last few years of the 1890s there was a great deal of concern about the state of British prisons. Many people called for reforms and published reports criticising what was happening there.
In the 1890s the government started publishing new guidelines about the aims of prisons and how they should be run. This article is commenting on the guidelines. Although the newspaper had some concerns about the guidelines, it was in favour of the plans overall.
The newspaper approved of the fact that all prisoners were no longer treated exactly the same. The aim was to try and reform prisoners as much as to punish. Prisoners were also divided into categories, and this still happens today.