Prison Comparison Contrast Paper
University of Phoenix
Introduction to Corrections
January 26, 2011
Prison Comparison Contrast Paper
The American prison systems have changed since the 1800s. There are new developments and advanced technologies that help contribute to a better prison/penitentiary system as well as run it effectively. The subject of this will define and examine the theory and ideal of a penitentiary. It will explore historical factors while comparing and contrasting the prison systems during and after World War II. Finally, it will take a look at the impact and involvement of prison labor during this time period as well as focus the attention of the trend of prison labor since then. The Ideal of Penitentiary
Teachers and other scholarly intellectuals have used the terms “penitentiary” for more than twenty years. “The penitentiary was more of an idea or set of principles than a physical institution with shape and form”(Foster, 2006, p. 21). It wasn’t really a building for ex cons, it was more of a concept. The purposes of a penitentiary were both secular and spiritual. In Western societies, penitentiary was supposed to be a place of humane punishment rather than physical punishment. This place was created to keep prisoners separated from each other as much as possible; isolation, as opposed to regular prisons. It was also created for prisoners to express their feelings of regret of their wrongdoing. “As a secular institution, the penitentiary was meeting the religious need for expressing contrition for sin. The principal goal of the penitentiary was to achieve the kind of spiritual transformation in a criminal being that was associated with the religious beings of the medieval monastery”(Foster, p. 22). Prison Systems in World War II
The World War II had many affects on the prisons. “Prison populations declined as many young men in trouble (including convicts who were paroled to work in war industries) were allowed to choose between military duty and prison”(Foster, 2006, chap. 3). So, if men committed crimes, instead of serving a prison sentence they had an option to serve in the military and fight in the wars. Active military service had provided strong control socially over young men.
“The Prison Industries Branch of the War Production Board was established in December 1941 to manage the industrial and agricultural output of state and federal prisons”(Foster, 2006, chap. 3). Production in industrial and agricultural in state prisons estimated about $25 million each. Prisoners mainly manufactured items pertaining to the world such as assault boats, bomb noses, cargo nets, Navy shirts, flags, and leather materials.
After the World War II, the prison systems have changed drastically. Prisoners do not have the option to serve out their sentence in the military anymore. It’s more on the concept: If you do the crime, you do the time. The prisons are overpopulated and the agriculture and industrial production has declined. “Politicians who had advocated greater involvement of prisoners in the war effort turned a blind eye to prisons after the war”(Foster, 2006, chap. 3). The guards are not as strict as the guards were during World War II. Prisoners are attacking the guards and trying to escape more frequently. They are also brave enough to take the guards and wardens hostage all while creating a prison riot. It is like they do not have respect for the law or the justice system.
In conclusion, this paper addressed the differences between what happened in the prison systems during and after World War II and the ideal and theory of penitentiary. With regards to the way prisons were operated during the WWII as opposed to the way it was operated today, one would think that they would show great appreciation. If the legal system apply some discipline and restrictions on the prisons now,...