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Early Victorian Prisons - Essay Example

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The prison system itself is a complicated and complex working of methods and mayhem, and although it has changed dramatically throughout the history of time, there are a definitive amount of factors which remain the same, from as early as the 1600s to the present day.
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Early Victorian Prisons
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Download file to see previous pages Prisons are considered to be institutions used for imprisonment or incarceration and in England today accommodation for prisoners in these institutions are divided into wings that are usually identified by a name, number, or letter. Today there are an estimated nine million people imprisoned worldwide, with the United Kingdom alone accounting for approximately 73 000 inmates in its facilities. This high proportion of prisoners has been associated with many things, such as better funded criminal justice systems, a more strict approach to law and order, and a larger gap between the rich and the poor.
There are numerous differences between the prisons of today and those of years ago; one major change being that in early Victorian England people were imprisoned and often sentenced for lengthy periods of time for seemingly important things such as 'picking oakum', whereas in today's world that is certainly not the same situation.
Victorian prisons were seen as unpleasant and rundown places with a main goal to keep the surroundings as miserable as possible in an attempt to deter people from committing crimes. The prisons were small, old, and badly-run.
London and its suburbs held over a dozen prisons in all, and debtors and convicts, those to be rehabilitated and those simply to be detained all had no trouble finding a place to wait out their days. By the 1860s there were two distinct types of Victorian prisons: the local and the convict prisons. The older, which dated back from as far back as the Saxon times, was called the local prison. This itself was made up of two equally distinct parts: the jail (or gaol) and the House of Correction.
Prisons in England during the early Victorian era are of particular interest and subjectivity, and in order to be able to come to a clearer and more cognitive view on this subject matter, the following questions must be addressed:
1. What are prisons
2. To what extent did early Victorian prisons in England deter and reform criminals
3. What are some conclusions that can be made on early Victorian prisons in England
By discussing these four questions, we can come to a more knowledgeable and understanding opinion on this subject of interest. This is what will be dissertated in the following.
What are Prisons
Prisons are literally defined as places where persons are confined and usually deprived of a range of personal freedoms, as punishment for particular and often various crimes. Prisons are also often times used as a tool of political repression, particularly in times of heightened war or conflict. "A prison system is the organizational arrangement of the provision and operation of prisons."
The United Kingdom has the highest incarceration rate among all of Western Europe, with an approximated 109 out of every 100 000 people imprisoned in the present day; today there are 139 prisons in England and Wales, with 19 of those having been built rather recently - 1995 or beyond.
The rise in the prison population in England has been primarily attributed to changes in terms of sentencing. Crimes such as shoplifting and other forms of petty theft have overtly harsher sentences in the present day than years ago; in 1995 alone over 129 people were in prison for shoplifting, and in 2001, 3 000 people were sent to prison for petty theft for a first time ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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