By 1912, the treatment of women imprisoned for taking part in militant action was causing a national stir. The liberal government continued to ignore their demands. The nation was split as to whether such women should be treated as common criminals or as political prisoners.
The Women's Social and Political Union engaged Professor George Sigerson, a well known academic who had been a member of the Royal Commission on Prisons, to give his views. 'Custodia honesta' means preventative detention or custody without punishment.