Women Prisons Before the 1800

Topics: Prison, Criminal justice, Penal labour Pages: 2 (609 words) Published: December 7, 2012
What were women’s prisons like before the 1800s?
“Women were punished as men were, with the exception that pregnant women were often spared punishment until after they had given birth. Women were generally mixed with male prisoners and supervised by male jailers, which made the women doubly subject to abuse and exploitation.”(Foster, 2006) Women who violated the law, then, also violated their subservient position and were seen as morally suspect as well as criminal. Prior to the development of prisons in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, punishment for women and men took a variety of forms: Serious offenders were put to death by hanging or burning, or banished from their community or sold as slaves How have they changed?

The Indiana State Reformatory was established in 1873 as the first separate prison for women in America. (Foster, 2006) The women in prisons are still treated the same except they have separate prisons and more rights to help them when they are abused. They still do have coed prisons in Illinois but they are minimum security prisons. What are the three basic arguments established in the 1800s that supported the separation of juvenile prisoners from adult prisoners? 1. The penitentiary regimen was too hard on tender youth.

2. Juveniles would learn bad habits from older criminals and be embittered by The experience of confinement.
3. Adolescents could be reformed if they were diverted early enough into institutions Designed specifically for people their age.
What would happen if there were no distinction between prisons for juveniles and adults? It would be like sending flocks of young sheep to live with older wolves. The juveniles would be exploited and exposed to a great deal immoral and illegal things.

What was the purpose of prison labor?
In the 1800s, prisons recouped their expenses by leasing convicts to private companies; in 1885, fully three-quarters of prisoners were involved in some form of labor, mostly for private...
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