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Walnut Street Jail - Research Paper Example

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Running head: WALNUT STREET JAIL Walnut Street Jail Your Name School Affiliation Walnut Street Jail The penitentiary or prison system in US is responsible for handling convicts who are undergoing long?term confinement. To be specific, the penitentiary system acts the role of a blockade between the mainstream society and criminals…
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Walnut Street Jail
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Download file to see previous pages Thesis statement: The Walnut Street Jail, especially the concept of penitentiary house, deeply influences the current prison system in US and proves to be effective (special reference to the concept of penitentiary house). Walnut Street Jail: A brief history The history of Walnut Street Jail begins in the year 1774, when the law enforcement authority decided to open a new jail. Earlier, there was another prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Street. As overcrowding was an important problem, the prison authorities decided to construct Walnut Street Jail. In addition, the designer (Robert Smith) decided to construct large rooms for the inmates. Robert Smith decided to construct the new jail in the form of U-shape because more inmates were to be accommodated within the limited space. Gradually, Walnut Street Jail became overcrowded and the prison authorities decided to construct a new cellblock, namely penitentiary house. As the cells in the penitentiary house aimed to accommodate individual prisoners, it became a revolutionary change in prison design. This design, known as Pennsylvania System deeply influenced the construction of other prisons like Pittsburgh prison (1821) and Trenton State Prison (1836). Walnut Street Jail’s role in the development of US penitentiary system One can easily identify that the development of modern prison system is deeply rooted in the innovative measures adopted by the Walnut Street Jail authorities. First of all, the penitentiary house built by the Walnut Street Jail was the most important development within US penitentiary system. Earlier, the prisoners were accommodated in rooms with limited space. This created much tension because new inmates mingled with criminals who were undergoing long-term imprisonment. Moreover, the prison authorities considered managing the prisoners as a tiresome effort. The idea to accommodate the inmates into small cells was helpful to manage the inmates with more ease. In 1970s, the penitentiary house within the Walnut Street Jail system was considered as an innovative measure to deal with the problems faced by the authorities and the prisoners in general. The vocational workshop was another effective measure adopted by the Walnut Street Jail authorities. Besides, the jail authorities gave less importance to punitive measures. When rehabilitation and penitence became more important than punishment, the other jails/prisons in US began to imitate the measures adopted by the Walnut Street Jail. This is most important because it transformed the scenario of prison system in US. In addition, the Walnut Street Jail paved the way for innovative prison designs like Pennsylvania System and Auburn Prison Scheme. Later, the Auburn Prison Scheme (say, labor during day time and isolation at night time) became more popular than other prison designs in US. So, one can see that Walnut Street Jail’s role in the development of US penitentiary system is utmost important. The key concepts implemented at the Walnut Street Jail As pointed out, the most important concept implemented at the Walnut Street Jail was penitentiary house or separate cells for the inmates. Roth (2006) states that “Hence its reputation as the first penitentiary in the world and the first American adoption of the theory of solitary confinement as a major step on the road to repentance” (p.293). The separation of women inmates from men is another idea implemented at th ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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