Unruly ‘inmates’ were often sentenced to hard labour by the local petty sessions, of which many of the magistrates also doubled as poor law guardians. Those who absconded from the workhouse without notice were also likely to be brought before the law, particularly those who left with workhouse clothing and other property. In July 1848 Thomas Farley was brought before the court for stealing a calico shirt, the property of the guardians of the Dungannon union. Likewise, Arthur Gibbons was charged with stealing clothes in the workhouse and sentenced to one month’s imprisonment.
In March 1849 Robert Cullen was charged with stealing a suit of clothes from the workhouse. Thomas Burrowes was sentenced to three months hard labour for a similar crime in the same year. And those like James Muldoon who stole a quantity of rags from John Lowry of Dungannon was sent to the workhouse after his sentence two week imprisonment.
Inmates were also frequently punished for misdemeanours or behaviour which went against what the master had set down. For example, in 1885 Thomas Thackaberry, the Master, summoned John Skiffington for absconding from the workhouse for the second time and leaving three children. He was also charged with ‘going away’ with his workhouse clothing, which cost the guardians by his desertions. Skiffington was sent to Omagh jail for one month with hard labour.