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Prison History Essay

  • Submitted by: sidewinder8
  • on March 18, 2012
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 1,136 words

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Below is an essay on "Prison History" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Prisons have dated all the way back to Old Testament times, the Bible tells of Joseph being imprisoned in Egypt. In the early times criminals that were imprisoned in dungeons. The more modern prisons that are like we have today were introduced in London in the 19th century. The idea behind prisons was to punish criminals by incarcerating them as a form of punishment instead of just being a holding place for people that had been accused of committing that was awaiting crime.
The structure of the American prisons originated in Pennsylvania. In 1862 William Penn was the leader of the first state prison system that introduced hard labor in the house of corrections to replace torture and mutilation as punishments for crimes with hard labor. Labor in correctional institutions practically did not exist during the Colonial period, but Penn’s penal code in 1682 which was the foundation of prison labor across the country.  
The first state prison was the Walnut Street Jail was built in Philadelphia in 1773. Early on at the Walnut Street Jail it was Penn’s intentions to establish workhouses. In 1776, the constitution enacted laws establishing houses of corrections for “ punishing by hard labor, those who shall be convicted of crimes not capital.” It was during this time that hard work should be used as punishment and discipline. Prison industry was successful with the management and rehabilitation of criminals. From 1790 through the 1820’s, the most common jobs were nail making, shoe making, stone sawing, weaving, and picking and carding wool and hair. The piece – price contract system was where industrial and commercial businesses supplied raw materials and agreed to pay the state an agreed amount for the work to be done on each piece built by the inmate. This program later became unproductive due to overcrowding in the prison, inmates that were sentenced to solitary confinement with hard labor were put in the congregate department of the prison and double celled.   Other...

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