Wymondham Gaol was opened by Sir Thomas Beever in 1785. This jail was the first to be opened in Norfolk, England. This was near the end of the Age of Elightenment, when the Western World began to look inward and outward (Oakes, 2011). Looking outward, Western civilization could see barbaric tribes across the entire world (Oakes, 2011). Looking inward, the Western world believed itself more civilized and reformations began to touch every aspect of life, including dealings with criminals (Oakes, 2011). Belief in the scientific method drove society to find more humane ways of dealing with the lawless while perhaps transforming these into law-abiding, productive citizens (Foster, 2006). Five years later, on the other side of the world, the Philadelphia Society opened the first prison in America, the Walnut Street Jail. Not long after that, the Auburn Penitentiary was opened, the Federal Prison system was developing. The first Federal Prison was the converted Army Fort near Leavenworth, Kansas (Foster, 2006).
Over the years, each state developed a prison system similar to its neighbor but different at the same time. As time has passed, these differences have been studied, expanded upon, rejected, and ridiculed (Oakes, 2011). In most cases, Department of Corrections officials eliminate what does not work while keeping what does (Foster, 2006). Over the years more prisons have been developed but for various reasons; one of the main and obvious reasons are overcrowding.
Overcrowding, defined as housing inmates above the designed capacity, is a continuing problem in federal prisons and many state prisons (Foster, 2006). At the end of 2001, state prisons were operating between 1 and 16 percent over the capacity, while federal prisons were above 31 percent their desired capacity level (Foster, 2006). It has been proven that prisons are more difficult to manage when they are above capacity and inmate and staff health and...
References: Foster, B. (2006). Corrections: The Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
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