Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
Professor James Guffey
October 25, 2011
U.S. Correctional System: Punishment vs. Rehabilitation
For the last 200 years we as a nation have tried to figure out a way to deter, rehabilitate and house prisoners without overcrowding the prison system. The American Justice System has utilized many different prison models, as was displayed among various countries around the world pertaining to prison reform and prisoner rehabilitation. One of the first models used was The Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which was converted into Pennsylvania Penitentiary in 1790. The system which was transpired in the Pennsylvania Penitentiary was known as the Pennsylvania System, which included solitary confinement 23 hours a day, prisoners were allowed to exercise in an area provided off of their cells, inmates were not allowed to congregate and the system encouraged rehabilitation; therefore, putting an end to corporal punishment.
Many other vast prison eras occurred throughout history. One of which was the Industrial Era (1890-1935), which seemed to work out sufficient enough for the offenders and those who profited from it. In the northern division of the United States prisoners smelted steel, manufactured cabinets, molded tires, and crafted many other goods for the open market. Prisons in the South, was devastated by the Civil War, and they used inmates to replace slaves who had been freed during the war. The industrial era ended due to The Ashurst-Sumners Act of 1935, which specifically prohibited the interstate transportation and sale of prison goods where state laws forbade them. (Schmalleger, 2011) Substantially this was enacted at the same time as the Great Depression; therefore putting an even greater damper on an already unstable society. The U.S. correction system has three main goals: punish, protect the population and rehabilitate...