History of Corrections Essay

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Pages: 8

History of American Corrections

The corrections system in America began mostly with the arrival of William Penn and his “Great Law.” This was back in 1682; the “Great Law” was based on humane principals and also focused on hard labor as a punishment. The corrections system really began to take hold in North America in the late 1700’s with the idea’s and philosophy of Beccaria, Bentham, and Howard. These philosophies were based on the thought that prisoners could be treated and reformed back into society. This hard labor was used as an alternative to other cruel forms of punishments that were used in earlier times such as physical abuse or even brutal death. In 1790 came the birth of the Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The
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Each type leaves some discretion for the judge and varies on the goals for the criminal. The different methods used are called: indeterminate sentences, determinate sentences, and mandatory sentences. Indeterminate sentences go in line with the idea of rehabilitation. These sentences usually have a minimum and a maximum term. It is a range and the courts use this range to determine parole and it is somewhat based on the amount of time given for a treatment program. The purpose behind this form of sentencing is incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. Determinate sentencing is quite the opposite from indeterminate, hence the name. This sentencing structure follows the concept of retribution mainly. Retribution is a deserved punishment, so basically the offender is given a length of sentence based on the crime that was committed. It is a fixed sentence that goes with the specific crime committed. After the offender has served his time he is then released and is free to go without any parole or program ties. The third sentencing structure is mandatory sentencing. This structure is based on the crime committed. It has a minimum time period attached to certain crimes that the government deems fit. This type of sentencing does not take into account the different circumstances of the crime but only looks at the crime itself. “The ‘three strikes and you’re out’ laws, now adopted by several states and the federal government, provide one example of mandatory