Prison Systerm Essay

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Purpose and History of Penitentiaries April M. Allen CJA234 Freddy Stansbury May 14, 2013

Purpose and History of Penitentiaries Penitentiaries originally began as an idea in the 1800s (Seiter, 2011). As time progressed the idea of a penitentiary evolved from an idea into a structure. During the late 1800s prisons began to develop. These structures are used to facilitate citizens who do not abide by the laws of the land. These citizens are known as criminals. These penitentiaries are used as a form of punishment to ensure criminals do not further aggravate law-abiding citizens. Penitentiaries are structures used to control and treat offenders so he or she can learn from his or her mistakes; in hopes that the offenders who can rehabilitate can easily transform back to a normal law-abiding society. History of Punishment The definition of punishment in the legal system is the burden of hardship in response to an individual’s behavioral misconduct (Bouvier, 1856). Punishment has been used to correct wrongful behaviors since the beginning of times. The first form of punishment was noted when Adam and Eve disobeyed the law of God when they had eaten the forbidden fruit. The first legal code created is known as the Hammurabi legal codes (Seiter, 2011). These code of laws were engraved in stone by the Babylonian King Hammurabi. The most common law code from Hammurabi is an eye for an eye. This law and the other 299 Hammurabi’s code of laws were based on the principle of revenge, not justice. Since then punishments have been reformed to meet the needs of the society and ensure justice. Four major categories of law were formed. These four categories are as follows: civil law, socialist law, common law, and Islamic law (Seiter, 2011). Civil laws are laws of a state or nation that deals with the moralities of private residents (Hill, 2008). Socialist laws are based on the civil law system but are used in Communist states (Socialist Law, n.d.). Common laws are laws created from judicial and custom practices rather than statutes (Hill, 2008). Islamic law are laws consequent from the Koran and the practices and teaching of Mohammed (Duhaime, n.d.). The judicial system uses punishment as a deterrence. Correction, another term for punishment, is provided by the judicial system. Corrections are based on the offender’s crime. The corrections provided can vary from incarceration to treatment programs. Correction action varies, depending on the crime committed, the state’s penal codes, and the treatment required. For example if an individual becomes an offender of the law because of a drug charge, he or she may be required to carry out a drug treatment program or complete a certain amount of time under the supervision of a probation officer. Once properly completed and the correction officer feels as though the offender can be released back into society without causing any further harm, he or she will be released and noted as rehabilitated. History of Prison and Development The United States prison system was developed by the Pennsylvanian Quaker Governor William Penn. The Quakers strongly believed that the criminal codes were highly ineffective and inhumane. They believed that individuals who committed misdemeanor crimes should not be punished the same as the individuals who committed felony crimes. The Pennsylvania criminal codes were quickly changed. The criminal codes were changed as follows. Capital punishment should be used only for homicide crimes, any other crimes should be charged according the nature of the crime. Bloody corporal punishment was no longer a valid way to punish an offender. Imprisonment would become the substitute for the use of corporal…