Development Of Corrections Essay

Submitted By jtmjtm76
Words: 978
Pages: 4

In the late 1700’s and the early 1800’s, prisons were not really prisons. They were basically holding jails where prisoners were sent until they were either found guilty of a crime or released from jail. Although there are similarities between prisons back then and prisons today, they also had many differences as well. With many similarities and differences, the treatment of prisoners between the times is the biggest difference of them all. In the early 1800’s, prisoners were not only subjected to being thrown in prison, they were also subjected to public humiliation as well. Prisoners were publicly degraded in front of the towns, they were beaten, endured mutilation, branded, tortured and often put to death. If not one or all of the above, they were also mulcted in fines, deprived of liberty and adjudged a slave to society (Gerlach, n.d.). It was not until 1829 when the world’s first “penitentiary” was built in the United States. Until 1829, prisons were more or less just holding jails or holding pens where groups of adults and children, both men and women were housed together in one place. Did not matter the charge or the crime, they were all basically housed in one open area to sort out their own affairs. And the abuse of prisoners by prison guards and overseers was assumed. In 1829, when the Eastern State Penitentiary was built, did the U.S. finally establish a place to house and begin to rehabilitate prisoners properly (ushistory, 2013). With the building of this new penitentiary, it was to do away with corporal punishment and ill treatment of the prisoners. It was to carve the way for prisons we know today. The early system of this new prison was very strict and used a method of isolating prisoners from one another to leave them with the thoughts of their behavior and the ugliness of the crimes they had committed. They would put hoods over the heads of the inmates when being transported around the prison. This kept the prisoners from being distracted, knowledge of the prison and also to keep interaction down between prison guards and other inmates. Although there are many similarities from then to now, such as cell blocks to house different criminals that have committed similar crimes, keeping prisoners away from other prisoners, little to no communications with prison guards and officials. There also many differences as well. Today, prisoners have many amenities afforded to them that they did not have in the earlier days. Prisoners now have beds they sleep on with sheets and blankets, whereas in the 1800’s they were lucky if they had a hammock to sleep on. Most inmates in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s only had the floor to sleep on and usually slept with rodents running around. While sleeping arrangements are just one of the differences, prisoners now days have television, toiletries, footwear and visitation of family and friends. These were not afforded to prisoners in the past. In 1829, when the Eastern State Penitentiary was built, all prisoners were given Bibles to read so they could be guided to spiritual light. These days’ prisoners are offered many different forms of reading material, from having extra books to read to study material to better their education. They may even be afforded cd players or cassette players to enjoy music (QG, 2015). Although prisons have changed over the centuries, the one they all have in common is to house individuals who have committed crimes worthy of a prison sentence. Each state governs its own prison system, there for each state has its own goals when it comes to the outcome of prisoners. Take California for instance, they have numerous programs to help rehabilitate inmates incarcerated in California. These programs include substance abuse programs that help prisoners deal with their drug and alcohol addictions. They also have programs to help get prisoners and education while