Jail And Prison History Essay

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Running head: The Purpose and History of Jails and Prisons

The Purpose and History of prisons and jails
Jails are always overlooked, but they play a very important role in our justice system.
The jail is the oldest of all the correctional components. The jails have several difficult missions and roles to play in our justice system. Jails hold approximately one-tenth of all offenders under correctional custody. “Jails hold a variety of offenders (those who have been arrested, have been detained pending trial, have been sentenced to short terms of confinement for minor crimes, are awaiting transfer to another facility, and are being held administratively for a criminal justice agency). They may hold offenders arrested for public drunkenness or for multiple murders.”
(Corrections: An Introduction, Third Edition, 2011)
Jails have been around since 1166. The first jail was established in England. A gaol, was the term used by the English for what we call a jail today. These jails in 1166 were horrible places to be detained. The gaols were filthy ,served poor food, had little medical care, and they were extremely violent. The conditions of these gaols came to the attention of John Howard, the sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1773. John Howard felt directed to change the unsatisfactory conditions of the jails. John Howard drafted the Penitentiary Act of 1779 with the assistance of the English House of Commons. This act added four requirements for the English jails and prisons: It allowed for sanitary and secure structures to be built, allowed for systematic inspections to be made on the detainees, allowed for the abolition of fees charged to the inmates, and created a reformatory regime. The reformatory regime confined inmates to individual cells and allowed them to work in the common areas during the day. The Penitentiary Act of 1779 also detailed that inmates were to be fed proper diet. Uniforms and inmate hygiene were also put into effect by the Act of 1779. The U.S....

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