December 7, 2013
American Prisons In the late 1700’s prison was an idea that had not taken on form. Serving time was a set idea of principals and many saw the need for change. As time went on a penitentiary became a more solid idea that began to take shape.
Ideals of a penitentiary A penitentiary was meant to be secular and spiritual (Foster, B., 2006). A penitentiary was supposed to be a clean, healthy place for inmates to serve their time and to be treated in a human way. Most importantly, a certain punishment and a place to pay penance for their crimes.
Goals of a Penitentiary A penitentiary was built upon religious beliefs. A penitentiary had one main goal. This goal was to give a criminal a secluded place to think about his crime, to realize that what he did was wrong, and to say he would do better (Foster, B., 2006). Penitentiaries were meant to turn criminals into law-abiding citizens.
Prison Models The first model was the Pennsylvania model. This model believed in complete solitude. Prisoners were kept in a cell alone with no contact with other prisoners and limited interaction with guards (Foster, B., 2006). Inmates were allowed two books at a time, one of which was a bible, and were put to work in their cells. From their cell they had access to a small exercise yard that they were allowed to use in 30 minute increments. It was believed that in this environment offenders would be able to reflect uninterrupted and make amends. The Auburn model was quite different. In the Auburn model prisoners were kept in small cells that were stacked in tiers. Until the surge in the prison population, prisoners were kept one to a cell. Afterwards, there could be 2 to 3 in what was meant to be a single man cell. There were 3 levels of security when handling inmates. This went from complete solitary confinement to day work groups (Foster, B., 2006). In the Auburn system