Penitentiary Ideal and Models of American Prison

Topics: Prison, Eastern State Penitentiary, Penology Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: February 10, 2014
As we study history and things that have happened we always find that the first things that were thought of and used usually did not turn out to be the best, most of the time, and we still see that today in our society with different things that are invented. As you study the history of Corrections you will always find where things were implemented and then were done away with or reworked because they just did not fit or work like they thought it would. We will see in the following paragraphs the penitentiary ideal of what they said it was and the two prison models that came into existence that were used for a number of years.

When you think of penitentiary what comes to mind? You think of criminals acting like animals if they are crazy and the criminal serving his time in a hard way maybe even suffering. Well that is not what was on the minds of the ones that came up with the name penitentiary, it was supposed to have a purpose of being both secular and spiritual. Foster (2006) stated that “It was supposed to be a place of humane punishment as opposed to the physical punishments still prevalent in Western societies” (p. 22). They were supposed to have a certain punishment. The penitentiary was supposed to be clean and a healthy place to live compared to the jails that were dirty and unclean spiritually. They felt that the criminals should be separate from each other with no contact with each other by keeping them all in isolation type cells. Now the ideals have changed and they are to help keep society safe from criminals and then try to help rehabilitate them before being released back into society.

There were two prison models that came about which were the separate system or isolate system and the congregate system or silent system. The first model was created when the Eastern State Penitentiary was built which implemented the separate system or isolate system. Foster (2006), stated that “The prison featured seven cell blocks radiating like...
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