History of Corrections
July 24, 2010
The historical development of corrections since the colonial period is very interesting to look into. After the colonial period there were other significant events that led up to how the history of corrections is so important such as the arrival of the penitentiary, the reformatory movement, the rise of the progressives, the rise of the medical model, community, and crime control. Corrections have changed over the years, and hopefully for the better. Corrections in America can be researched back upon to the roots of the Europeans. Corrections today have been transformed into a tool to punish people who cannot abide by the law and it is also a commercial business as well. The United States federal law mandates that each of the fifty United States has to create and manage criminal justice systems. However, there are some states that have limited resources and also smaller prisons which may impact the state in a negative manner. In addition to that, there are some larger states that have an endless budget for managing their correctional system. These systems employ thousands of staff members and correctional officers and for the most part maintain their correctional system with multimillion dollar facilities with high-tech security systems.
The history of corrections in America can be traced back to the colonial period. During this timeline, most Americans lived under laws and practices that were transferred from England and adapted to local conditions. (1) In 1682, an English Quaker by the name of William Penn arrived in Philadelphia. “The Great Law” was presented to Pennsylvania and adopted shortly after by Penn. “The Great Law” was based on humane Quaker principles and emphasized hard labor in corrections as a punishment for most crimes committed. (1) The Quaker Code had lasted until 1718, and was then replaced by the Anglican Code. The Anglican Code was composed of 13 capital offenses. The only offense that was not punishable by death was larceny. Punishments for less serious offenses under the Anglican Code included whipping, branding, mutilation, and fines. These punishments were thrown away upon the signing of the Eighth Amendment of the United States of America in 1787 which outlines cruel and unusual punishment. This was a dramatic change in the history that changed for the better for humanity. In the past, the primary mission of the United States prison system was to keep society safe from criminals that were found guilty of criminal activity in a court of law. They were confined and controlled fully by the United States Government. The impact of the current prison system includes two systems, the Pennsylvania System and the Auburn System. The first penitentiary appeared in 1790 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Walnut Street Jail. By 1797, there were two primary penitentiary systems. There was the Pennsylvania System which was considered to be a separate system and then there was the New York (Auburn) system which was considered to be a congregate system. Each of these systems had set their own goals, implementations, methods, and activities. The Pennsylvania System’s goal was the redemption of the offender through the well-ordered routine of the prison. Their implementations were isolation, penance, contemplation labor, and silence. The method used was that inmates were kept in their cells for eating, sleeping, and working. The only activities they had were bible reading and working on crafts in their cells. Now, in comparison, the New York (Auburn) system had the same goal as the Pennsylvania system which was redemption of the offender through the well-ordered routine of the prison. The implementation was to provide strict discipline, obedience, labor, and silence. The methods used were to keep inmates sleeping in their cells but were...
References: Borade, G. (2010) Crime and Punishment in the Middle-Ages
Clear, T. R., Cole, G. F., & Reisig, M. D. (2009) American Corrections 8th edition
Tonry, M. (2009) There is nothing that can be called the "American system" of corrections
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