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Evolution of Life in Prisons - Research Paper Example

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Evolution of Life in Prisons Modern prison life has come long way from its early beginnings as a Congregate System way back in the 18th century. Back then male and female prisoners were incarcerated and slept in single cells but, they were released during the daytime to work as manual laborers in factories and plantations…
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Download file to see previous pages However, the male and female prisoners were kept in the same area, although housed in different dorms. The women were normally kept in attics and were subject to sexual abuse. Historical studies done by Johnson, Dobrzanska, Palla (2005), show that due to shortcomings of the Congregate System in terms of rehabilitating the prisoners, the format was discontinued in order to try out the Reformatory era of prisons. During this era, men were taught skills and educated in classes which would help them become better citizens upon leaving prison. Military drills were part of their daily training in an effort to create gentlemen out of the convicts. While women were educated in decorum and housework in preparation of what was then deemed to be the proper role of women in society. (p. 6) The 20th century saw the advent of the so called “Big-House”, a place where the punishment or work assigned to the prisoners did nothing to help redeem their soul or place in society. Instead, it was a place where men were made to do empty jobs just to show that their spirits had been broken and that they were now submissive to those running the prison. This was the era when “Chain Gangs” became known as the term for prisoners and they were used mostly in the government construction field. This type of prison became the norm in the 1930's. Any prisoner who found himself out of line was given Corporal Punishment. Although much stricter than a penitentiary, the Big House was seen as more lenient and effective in reforming the prisoners since they had a wider sense of freedom in the Big House set up. (p.9) In the modern times, prisons came to be known as Correctional Institutions and function far differently from their early counterparts. According to Pearson (2009) , modern prisons are actually mini communities that function by their own set of rules and regulations independent of the prison laws. Male and female prisoners now exhibit a distinct lifestyle and values system which helps them adapt to life outside of the world they once knew. (p.2) It was only 30 years ago when the penal system of America came to the realization that the old way of treating prisoners was not effective in any way due to the disconnect between the prisoners, the prison administration, and the outside world. Mark Saunders, the warden of the Southeast Correctional Institution in Ohio wrote (2006), that the modern prison system works with the prisoners in order to help them become educated, trained, and motivated to change their ways. No longer are prisons expected to simply be the holding place for societies problem members. These days, prisons are expected to impact the lives of the male and female prisoners positively. Prisoners need to adjust psychologically to their prison lives. according to psychologist Robert Morgan, PhD (2003), requires the help of prison psychologists to overcome. He explains that “"There's a great need for these folks to receive psychological services ...”. According to Pearson (2006), they now need to “learn convict values, roles, attitude, and language in order to survive the prison subculture” (p.4) Prisoners quickly learn that in order to to evolve and survive in their new atomosphere they must abide by the 5 Elements of the Prison Code namely: 1. Don't interfere with the interests of other inmates - don't rat on others 2. Play it cool - do your own time 3. Don't whine - be a man / woman 4. Don't exploit inmates - don't break your word 5. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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