History of the Prison

Topics: Prison, Penology, Prison reform Pages: 5 (1922 words) Published: October 30, 2010
This research paper is on the history of the prison in America. How it came to be in its present state? Things I will be writing about in this paper are the early history of the prison history in England. I will be talking about early American prisons, the goal of rehabilitation, prison labor, changes in the prison system, rehab programs, population, housing and prison organization we will hit briefly on all those aspects of the history of prisons. The reasoning behind this paper is because many people do not know why prison are the way they are now. In order to know why we have prisons the way we have them today you have to know where they came from. The main findings from my paper are from the internet. Articles that I read for this are Towards a Fair and Balanced Assessment of Supermax Prisons by Daniel P. Mears and Jamie Watson. The textbook Twelfth Edition Introduction to Criminal Justice Author Larry Siegel Chapter 16. Prison Reform in Pennsylvania by Norman Johnston PH.D Board member Emeritus of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, Wikipedia. The Short History of Prison by the Howard League for Penal Reform. These articles helped me to understand how we have the prison system today. I found that the country has been through many phases and schools of thought on how to punish and house prisoners. The prisons went from just a holding place for people until they were sentenced. To the way things are today being time as the punishment for offenders. Most people who are punished for misdemeanor crimes are held in a jail. The most serious crimes which are felonies stay in prison

The early history of jails and prisons in America starts with England. This was a way to deal with people that are did some cruel deed. This was one of the tools courts had to deal with this problem. History shows that every civilized organization in the world had some place to lock away and separate those that do not know how to follow the rules of the society that they are living in. Prison as we see it today is a way to punish people after there sentencing. In days of old the people went to trial and once they were sentenced they had to endure some form of public humiliation, pay some type of restitution, receive capital punishment or execution. Using prison as a way of punishment is a new idea that did not be used until the late nineteenth century. In Europe, England particularly people were held in penal institutions called workhouse. This is where people that were convicted of lesser offences worked to pay restitution doing hard labor. In these places the poor, people who owed money juvenile delinquents were held. Jail was not considered a punishment it was a way of housing these people. The conditions were unsanitary, full of diseases, viruses and pests everyone was kept in these facilities there was no separation between anyone if you were a criminal it didn’t matter what kind you were housed there. There were also instances where they sold alcohol and had women volunteer to give there services to male prisoners. In some institution you had to pay the jailer for different acts such as staying in the prison, eating, taking shackles on and off, and release it was almost like it was a business. In England they transported criminals to the English Colonies. When they were not able to do this anymore they kept the population on abandoned ships to do hard labor and brought back to the ships at night.

The original settlers in the colonies were very religious they got rid of executions. The British governments made them bring the death penalty back into effect though. The Pennsylvania legislature was the one who first saw that the way this system was holding up was not good. This is where they started to separate people by the seriousness of there crimes. The first Prison in the United States was a wing of the Jail on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. This was the start of...
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