State and Federal Prison Systems

Topics: Prison, Supermax, Recidivism Pages: 5 (1659 words) Published: October 22, 2011
This paper will analyze the history of state and federal prisons; making a comparison and contrasting about of the different security levels that exist in state prisons and federal prisons. Also it will mention some of the reasons for growth in the state prison system.

State and Federal Prison Systems

Prison is a term describing the facilities used to incarcerate convicted individuals and penitentiary describes the type of building. The debate to inaugurate penitentiaries instead of prisons began in the eighteenth century in England with the idea to replace corporal punishment with imprisonment with the prospects of reforming the mind and body. These transformations of the penitentiaries had a positive result throughout the world and the rest of Europe (Jackson, 1997).

The theory started in 1787 when a group of well-known Philadelphians expressed their concerns of the conditions of the American and European prisons. Dr. Benjamin Rush, Father of American Psychiatry, proposed the idea to build a true penitentiary, designed to create genuine regret and penitence, which took 30 years to convince the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to start building (U.S. History, 2010). In 1822 John Haviland, British architect, designs and manages the construction of the Eastern State Penitentiary, which incorporated the principles of Quaker information.

The purpose of the penitentiary is aid in both spiritual and not religious, and to maintain humane punishment and refrain from the physical punishment that has occurred in the Western societies. Provide a clean and healthy institution and environment to prevent contamination of the body, mind, and spirit (Foster, 2006). Furthermore, the inmates in custody were separated from each other, total isolation with all the required amenities such as a working toilet, running water, and central heat. The only possession the inmates are to have is a Bible to learn the word of God and participate in honest hard work, such as shoemaking, weaving, etc. that will guide the inmate to penitence, and a skylight to allow the light from heaven to shine inside the cells (U.S. History, 2010).

North of New York city two penitentiary models were in the process of development the Auburn and Sing Sing before Eastern State Penitentiary was completed. Auburn is designed to keep convicts separate and unable to communicate with each other even as they were forced to labor as penal slaves. Industry, obedience, and silence were the guiding principles of the new system (Law Jrank, 2010). Sing Sing penitentiary rule of silence would cause the inmate to regret his wrongdoings and assist in his rehabilitation it was also thought to yield a perfect discipline and order.

A corresponding logic applied to the lockstep, a way of' marching in which the inmates followed each other as closely as possible in a silent, rigid, and seemingly mindless fashion (Prison Talk, 2010). The inmates had their own cells; however, ate meals and participated in mandatory labor with complete silence enforced by the guards. The penitentiary systems were to rehabilitate the prisoners whereas each had their separate supporters.

During the Great Depression the federal and state prison incarceration rate spiked to 139 per 100,000 in 1939, and then it quickly dropped after the start of World War II. Young troubled men and paroled convicts were offered two options either to serve time in prison or enter the military performing military duty. December 1941 the Prison Industrial Branch of the War Production Board (WPB) was established to manage the output of industrial and agricultural by the state and federal prisons (Foster, 2006). The state production consisted of assault boats, shell cases, bomb crates and noses, cargo nets, boiler suits, stretchers, etc. The federal prisons were in charge of the penal war effort, penitentiary built Army patrol boats, and the women at...

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