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History and Development of Corrections - Essay Example

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Instructor: History and Development of Corrections The term penitentiary describes a facility used to incarcerate convicted persons. It should be noted that the word prison has been used in its place. The push for penitentiaries instead of prisons started in the 18thC in England and Wales…
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History and Development of Corrections
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Download file to see previous pages According to Ignatieff (1978), when U.S. attained independence from England in 1776, The Britons did not have a foreign protectorate where they could imprison people without costing a lot of money. Hence, the convict system started in 1776 as a backslash to the loss of American protectorates. It was essential to find an intermediate punishment, incorporating correction of the body and mind. Publication of The State of Prison in England and Wales- a book written by John Howard- in 1776 offered a significant information on the conditions of prisons and the prisoners contained there (Ignatieff, 1978). The public’s concentration turned towards the penal condition in England after reading this book. Howard had stumbled upon something that was significant in the eyes of public. In the 18thC, there were two types of prisons: the house of correction and the jail. The 18thC’s jail was almost similar to the one in the late 20thC. Furthermore, it also housed people waiting for trial. This group of people included those who could not afford bail and those sentenced for a short period (Barnes, 1972). The prisons or jails were used mainly for the detention of those accused of crime awaiting their trial and for the imprisonment of debtors and religious political offenders. A true account is that they were hardly ever used for the imprisonment of the criminal classes. Semple (1993) asserts that a health reformer called Jeremy Bentham stepped into the prison debate using Howard’s work as a basis. He had concluded that there were three kinds of prisons. His concepts had developed upon what was initially thought of as the status quo. These three kinds of prisons included the Black Prison, the House of Safe Custody, and the Penitentiary House. The House of Safe Custody was similar to an 18thC jail (Semple, 1993). Bentham believed that its main function was to house those waiting for trial and debtors. Nevertheless, the difference between the two was that, unlike a jail, the House of Safe Custody did not imprison people sentenced for a short period. Penitentiary House was the second prison. It was a step above the House of Safe Custody. This is where temporary incarceration took place. In order to differentiate roles of the jail, these roles were divided between the Penitentiary House and the House of Safe Custody (Semple, 1993). The last type of prisons established by Bentham was the Black Prison. This prison provided longer stays compared to the Penitentiary House (Semple, 1993). In the Black Prison, two skeletons were to lie together either side of an iron door so as to strike terror into the hearts of the inmates since it reminded them that they were certainly a house of death from which there was no escape. According to Pollock (2005), there were several alterations made within the convict system in England shortly after Bentham published his concepts of what a prison must be. The first, main change was the silent system’s trial period in 1834. The silent system offered slightly more liberty to prisoners, but any form of communication was totally prohibited. Prisoners were not imprisoned to cells though they worked together on different outside projects (Pollock, 2005). A harsh punishment would be issued in the event that the silence was broken. This system finally paved way for the popular separate system. The introduction of the separate system was the second significant change. The separate system ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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