Twentieth Century Penitentiary System

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Today’s Prison systems are instruments of punishment. Inmates have lost their freedom for the crimes they have committed. In the 18th century prisons in England known as bridewalls had very little to do with punishment, these facilities were used to hold people who owed debts, those awaiting trial, execution, or banishment from the community. These English courts imposed one of two sanctions on convicted felons, they either turned them loose or they executed. Those released either received a whipping or they branded them. American colonies used basically the same corporal punishments as did England. They also used the death penalty. Although other penal institutions did not adopt the Elmira model, its theories came into prominence in the first two decades of the twentieth century thanks to the Progressive movement in criminal justice. Believed that criminal behavior was caused by social, economic, and biological reasons and, therefore, a corrections system should have a goal of treatment, not punishment. Most prisons, regardless of the Progressives influence on the corrections system as a whole, made little change. Prisons today are still overpopulated and have and have many of the same problems as the earlier prisons. The Great penitentiary rivalry continues to influences are penal systems with about the same arguments. Does rehabilitation work? Should we have more strict prison rules? Each Penitentiary is a little different from the other as to what really does work in their system, and what changes need to be made to make it better using the past systems as guidelines as to what did and did not work then and what can be used to help the systems of today work
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