To the Roman Catholic Church the penitentiary was a tribunal of mercy, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins. (dictionary, Webster)To the average person it was a place to house prisoners who committed horrible crimes. Although it’s main purposes were both secular and spiritual, it was suppose to be a place of humane punishment rather than that of physical. (Corrections: The Fundamentals, by Burk Foster. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.)
The penitentiary was suppose to be a healthy and clean place unlike most jails and prisons. Prisoners were to be kept from each other preferably in isolation as to not contaminate one another with their bodily fluids as with their unholy spirits and thoughts. It was suppose to teach inmates their social purpose, to work doing productive labor and practice corrective discipline as oppose to sitting around not doing anything. (Corrections: The Fundamentals, by Burk Foster. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.)
As a secular institution the penitentiary was meeting the religious need for the sinners to express their sins. It allowed for the sinner or prisoner to admit his crimes or wrong doings as a kind of confession and promise to do better. The principal goal was for the prisoners or sinners to find or achieve their spiritual transformation.( Corrections: The Fundamentals, by Burk Foster. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc.)
There were two principal models of the penitentiary, the Eastern State and the Auburn. John Havilland designed the prison we know as the Eastern State penitentiary. This prison featured seven long corridors that resembled what looked like spokes on a bicycle. It was flat and had thirty-foot walls that surrounded it. The cells were ten feet long and eight feet in width and...
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