The Development Of The Prison


Prisons were virtually non existent before the 1700s; prison was not considered a serious punishment for crime, and was seldom used. Instead, governments imprisoned people who were awaiting trial or punishment whereupon they would receive the more common capital or corporal types of punishment. Common punishments at that time included branding, imposing fines, whipping and the death penalty (capital punishment). The authorities punished most offenders in public in order to discourage people from breaking the law; this falls under the theory of deterrence. Some prisoners were punished by being made to row the oars on ships called galleys.
However, English and French rulers kept their ...

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mutilations and other harsh punishments. This was the beginning of the early prison reform. These critics included the British judge Sir William Blackstone. As a result, governments turned more and more to imprisonment as a serious form of punishment.
Early prisons were dark, dirty, unhygienic and overcrowded. They locked all types of prisoners together, including men, women and children, plus dangerous criminals, debtors and the clinically insane. During the late 1700s, the British reformer John Howard toured Europe to observe prison conditions. His book, the State of the Prisons in England and Wales influenced the passage of a law that led to the construction of the first British Prisons designed partly for reform. These prisons attempted to make their inmates feel penitent(sorry for doing wrong) and became known as penitentiaries; this is where the origins of the ‘theory of rehabilitation’ are found.
One form of imprisonment was transportation to a penal colony. ...

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dependant on the prisoners behaviour. Good conduct and hard work led to privileges and association with other inmates. These ideas were tried in Ireland, France and the English penal colony on Norfolk Island, off the coast of Australia. There, prisoners gained marks for good conduct and hard work, or lost them for bad behaviour. When they reached the required number of points, they could be released. Other reformers introduced the idea of a conditional release, whereby a prisoner was released before the end of his sentence provided he complied with certain conditions. If not, he was returned to prison. This led to the parole system, widely used today.

Reforms in the 1900s have ...

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Added: 1/11/2008 05:34:00 PM
Category: Miscellaneous
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2511
Pages: 10

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