Corrections Purpose And History Essay

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Corrections Purpose and History
David G. Bonneville II
August 19, 2013
Justina Smith
Corrections Purpose and History
The purpose of this paper is to allow the reader to gain knowledge on the purpose and history of correction and how it came about. To aid in the directive this paper will cover such topics as; the history of punishment, the history of prison development, comparing the Pennsylvania system and the Auburn system, as well as the impact and involvement that prison labor has had over time.
America has not always reacted to criminals and crime the way we do today, society has taken several steps throughout history in order to be where we are today. There have been many theories on why and how criminals should be treated for the crimes they have committed. In the eighteenth century there was a man by the name of Cesare Beccaria, this Italian theorist was the first person to link causation of crime to punishment. These theories led to his founding of the classical school of criminology, which had the same thoughts and ideals as he did. Among these ideals was that deterrence was more important than punishment, those who are accused should get speedy trials and continue to be treated fairly, instead of the torture that was present in the past. One of Beccaria’s philosophies was that of free will and hedonism, meaning that people had free will to choose their actions and that the punishment that followed a crime would be a deterrent itself. Between 1748 and 1832 the idea of hedonistic calculus was created by Jeremy Bentham, that a normal person would consider the pros and cons of their actions and would usually attempt to get the most pleasure out of things as well as the least amount of pain. (Seiter 2011). Bentham thought that if the punishment for the specific crime would be worse than the pleasure gained form it that it would deter the act from happening. This still fostered the idea of free will, because even if the punishment was greater than the gain from the crime the criminal still possessed control. Later, there were ideas that some people didn’t have complete control over their actions while committing crimes. From 1835 and 1909 the positive school was made by Ceasre Lombroso suggested this lack of control because of certain characteristics that they possessed, physical traits that attempted to prove they were not completely developed mentally. (Seiter 2011). This idea seemed to stem from the indication that because these individuals weren’t completely evolved they were more prone to commit crimes, and the acts were beyond control. Later studies ended up proving this idea not to be entirely true. There were more ideas to follow suggesting that crime families, certain body types, or chemical imbalances in the brain were the cause for certain people to be prone to committing crimes. In 1890 neoclassical school felt that no one had true free will and that everyone was influenced by things like gender, age, and environments. None the less, everyone was responsible for their actions. Currently it’s believed that there’s a number of factors that can account for crime as well as considering psychological and social situations when holding someone responsible for their actions. Regardless, we still believe the idea that everyone is responsible for their choices and this is often the theory used in modern days when determining punishment.
According to "Legal-Dictionary" (2013), capital punishment is, “The lawful infliction of death as a punishment; the death penalty.” (Capital Punishment). For a while this is how people were to be punished even for minor crimes. After the Quakers settled in Pennsylvania the judges they had would not follow these codes of the law, they did not see it fair that such punishments as this were being given to criminals that committed more minor crimes. A man named Penn, who led the Quakers made some changes to these laws. These changes were to include; homicide being the only