Explore BrainMass

History of Penitentiaries

1. What is the history of punishment?
2. What is the history of prison development?
3. Comparison of the Pennsylvania system and the Auburn system?
4. What is the impact and involvement of prison labor over time?

Solution Preview

Dear Student:
In order to explore the history of prisons, we must start in England. England had widespread incarceration during the 1500s. Their prisons were known as dungeons. Prison as a form of criminal punishment in the United States evolved after the American Revolution. Building prisons to house prisoners came in three major waves: The Jacksonian Era, the progressive Era, and Post Civil Rights Movement.
The Jacksonian Era is described by many historians as the first major use of imprisonment as a punishment for crimes. The purpose was to not only punish offenders, but to be used as a source labor designed to change the behavior of those imprisoned. By the beginning of the American Civil War, nearly all states used this form of punishment.
The second phase of building prisons came during what is known as the Progressive Era. The progressive era was a period from the 1890's to the 1920's. This period was described as the progressive era because activism focused on purifying government, eliminating corruption, and activism for political reform. Among the focuses of this movement was prison reform. During this period, the concepts of parole, probation, and indefinite sentencing were introduced into the American penal system.
The final era of massive prison expansion was the Era of the early 1970s, the Post Civil Rights Era. The early 1970s saw the number of incarcerated people increase ...

Solution Summary

A history of punishments and prison development are discussed. The impact and involved of prison labor over time are discussed.