Corrections Timeline

This essay is going to show the development with four eras of the correctional system. The four eras that will be discussed with be: 1800, 1960, 1980 and 2000. For each era we will go over the description of the holding or monitoring of the offenders, the treatment and punishment of the offenders and the influences of the particular era on today’s correctional system. The conclusion will discuss the most beneficial era to the correctional system, as well as, recommendations for ways in which the current correctional system could be improved upon.
Penitentiary era 1800’s With the ideas of The Age of Enlightenment growing in popularity, a new concept of criminal punishment came into play; the penitentiary. The penitentiary first appeared in 1790 when the Philadelphia Walnut Street Jail was expanded to allow separate confinement of inmates. The western State Penitentiary was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1819, as well as the Auburn State Penitentiary in New York. The Auburn State Penitentiary was based on a congregate system.
Seeks to redeem offenders through a well-ordered routine of the prison, implementing strict discipline, labor, obedience, and silence. The inmates were held in isolation at night but congregated in workshops during the day. They could not talk or look at each other while working or at meals. The work consisted of hard labor, such as the construction of roads or buildings. The inmates had to walk in unison, in a formation known as the lock step. The goal of The Auburn State Penitentiary was to redeem the offender through the well-organized practice of the prison (Clear, Cole, & Reisig, 2009).

In 1821 after many years of lobbying from the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, the Pennsylvania Legislature approves funding to build the Eastern State Penitentiary. The new prison will hold 250 inmates. In 1829 Masks are fabricated to keep the inmates from communicating during rare trips outside their cells. Cells are equipped with feed doors and individual exercise yards to prevent contact between inmates, and minimize contact between inmates and guards.
In 1839, the County of Chester built its first off site jail at Market and New Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania. This structure subsequently underwent alteration and additions up until 1941. This Prison was modeled after the Walnut Street jails in Philadelphia the first County institution which was built in 1770. The only differences were the sanitary provisions, beds and heating for each cell. 1862 – A cabinet shop is opened in the prison. In the next ten years, the prison will add a shoe shop, a tailor shop, a wagon factory, and an expansion to the cabinet shop for other furniture and chairs.
By 1878, the revenues will be sufficient to allow the prison to run without drawing appropriations from the state’s treasury. A knitting industry is added in 1893, a twine plant in 1912, a cannery in 1915, a license plate operation in 1917, a print shop in the early 1920s, and a laundry in 1940. The laundry, license plate, wood and metal furniture, printing and signage, silk-screening, and tailoring operations survive to this day at the prison.
Community Era 1960’s to 1980. During this era there were lot of Development of behavioral techniques in 1930s and 1940s brought about concept of treatment in prisons. “Correctional Facilities. ” Treatment based on “medical model. ” Individual and group therapy programs evolved. Neurosurgery- Used to control aggressive behavior and destructive urges – frontal lobotomies were part of this approach. Sensory deprivation- Denial of stimulation by isolating prisoners in quiet, secluded environment. Aversion therapy- Drugs and/or electric shock used to teach prisoner to associate negative behavior with pain and displeasure.
Today’s Prisons In today’s prisons Whites – 1229 incarcerated per 100,000 white males in their late 20’s. Blacks – 10,376 incarcerated per 100,000 black males in their late 20’s. the prisons today with the maximum system looks like the: high fences/walls of concrete barriers between living area and outer perimeter, electric perimeters, laser motion detectors, electronic and pneumatic locking systems, metal detectors, X-ray machines and television surveillance. Medium security prison, Similar in design to maximum security facilities, however, they allow prisoners more freedom.
In them, prisoners can usually: associate with other prisoners, go to the prison yard, use exercise room/equipment, visit the library and take showers and use bathroom facilities with less supervision. Also in the medium security prison they usually have dormitory style housing. Cells and living quarters tend to have more windows. These facilities tend to have barbed wire fences instead of large stone walls. Last we have the minimum security prisons which: Housing tends to be dormitory style and prisoners usually have freedom of movement within the facility.
Work is done under general supervision only. Guards are unarmed, and gun towers do not exist. Fences, if they exist, are low and sometimes unlocked. “Counts” are usually not taken. Prisoners are sometimes allowed to wear their own clothes. I believe that all the eras had a lot to do with how far we have come in the correctional system today. I would have to say that the way we are running the system today is the best we have had and we will continue to learn and over time will make the system better.

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