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Correctional History and Trends

You have been asked to provide the introduction for a one-day conference, at which U.S. correctional policy will be discussed. Many of the people at the workshop are not necessarily familiar with correctional history and trends. You prepare your notes ahead of time, being sure to include the following:

-The origins of the U.S. correctional system
-Key events during the history of corrections in the U.S.
-Description of the structure of the U.S. correctional system?identify different levels and types of correctional institutions
-Current trends in correctional policy.

Could you include references too, please?

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Let's look at each of the four sections, which include the references. It has a long and interesting history.

1. The origins of the U.S. correctional system

Prior to the 1700s, corrections in the American colonies mirrored that of the Middle Ages with little need to house prisoners in jails or prisons for long term, since they were subjected to capital punishment, corporate punishment or exile. So, it has its origins in the Colonial and Earlypost-revolutionary periods, and like Europe, physical punishment was common in colonial America. Original thirteen colonies sought independence from England and the British Crown, thirteen American colonies declared themselves sovereign and independent states.,M1

During this period, Americans used stocks, pillories, branding, flogging, and maiming?such as cutting off an ear or slitting nostrils?to punish offenders. The death penalty was used frequently. In 1636 the Massachusetts Bay Colony listed thirteen crimes that warranted execution, including murder, practicing witchcraft, and worshipping idols. In early New York State, 20% of offenses, including pickpocketing, horse stealing, and robbery, were capital crimes (warranting the death penalty). Any detainment was in secure buildings, such as dungeons waiting for execution or other punishments. There was no consistent or structure correction system during this period, although some philosophies began to emerge by 1800s.,M1

The 19th century ushered in the Penitentiary era moving from corporal and capital punishment to CONFINEMENT IN prisons and hard labor.

2. Key events during the history of corrections in the U.S.

Many facilities lay claim to be the first prison., but the Boston Prison (1635) was probably the first, serving Massachusetts Bay for 18 years. Federal prisons were build, alongside state correction departments. Between 1652 and 1776, 11 other such facilities were built in the Bay country, so each of the 12 counties had its own jail. (,M1).

Jails were used to hold prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing or as debtors' prisons, but were not the punishment itself. The Puritans of Massachusetts believed that humans were naturally depraved, for example, which made it easier for some of the colonies and the first states to enforce harsh punishments. In addition, since Puritans believed that humans had no control over their fate (predestination), many early Americans felt there was no need for rehabilitation. (

In 1773, the old coppermine was used as a jail and it was opened as New Gate Prison in Simsbury, Connecticut. In 1776, the Walnut Jail was opened in Philadelphia housing petty offenders and debtors awaiting sentencing.

In 1775, the first state prison in Massachusetts was the old fortress on Castle Island e.g., imprisonment and hard labor replaced corporal and capital punishment.

The Penitentiary Era

Began in the 19th Century e.g. two systems: Pennsylvania and Auburn Systems (see descriptions on p. 344, at URL: ...

Solution Summary

Based on the case scenario, this solution discusses correctional history (origin, key events, structural description) and trends.