Quakers Impact on Today's Prison System

Topics: Prison, Death Penalty, Crime Pages: 3 (828 words) Published: September 14, 2013
Mary Spence
Foundations of Corrections - CRJS220-1303A-02
Unit 1 - Individual Work
July 28, 2013

The Quakers impact on prison conditions set the stage for today’s society and how we deal with criminals. The five general principles helped deal with criminals so they would be punished for their crimes, but also be able to be reintroduced to society. The Quakers sought a more humane way of dealing with criminals other than the guilty just being put to death. This paper looks at all these points and also introduces you, the reader, to how the first American prison system got its start.

The Pennsylvania System originated through the Walnut Street Jail, which was the first true correctional system in America. In 1790, the Pennsylvania Legislature declared a wing of the Walnut Street Jail a penitentiary house for all convicted felons except those sentenced to death. “Thus, although prisoners, gaols, dungeons, and workhouses had been in existence for years, this wing was the first to be used exclusively for the correction of convicted felons.” (Allen, Latessa and Ponder, 2013).

There were five general principles that the prison based its operations on. These general principles were first formed by the Quakers of Pennsylvania. The “Quakers” were a group formed originally by William Penn and his cousin William Markham (who was deputy governor of the province). “In other words, they originated both the idea of imprisonment as the typical mode of punishing crime, and the doctrine that this imprisonment should not be in idleness but at hard labor.” (Barnes, 2008). The Quaker’s province was established through two different assemblies. In 1862, “this first assembly united the Delaware counties with Pennsylvania, adopted a naturalization act and, on December 7, adopted the great law, a humanitarian code that became the fundamental basis of Pennsylvania law and which guaranteed liberty of conscience. The second assembly in 1683 reviewed and amended...

References: Allen, H., Latessa, H., and Ponder, B. (2013) Corrections in America: An Introduction. 13th
Edition. Published by Pearson: Upper Saddle River, NJ. Retrieved from Http://wow.coursesmart.com
Barnes, Harry (2008) The Historical Origin of the Prison System in America. Retrieved from
Net Industries Library Index (2013) Prevention History of Corrections – Punishment or
Rehabilitation? – The Reform Movement. Retrieved from Http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/2498/history-corrections-punishment-prevention-or-rehabilitation-reform-movement.html
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (2013) The Quaker Province: 1681-1776.
Retrieved from Http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/overview_of_pennsylvania_history/4281/1681-1776_the_quaker_province/478727
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