Prisons In America Research Paper

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The Foundation of Prisons in America John P. Brown III March 6, 2013 The Foundation of Prisons in America The birth of the American republic and the birth of an organized prison system in this country occurred simultaneously. In 1776, it was the first year of American independence, an early act of the newly formed state of Pennsylvania provided in its constitution that the legislature reform its laws, invent punishments and better the various degrees of crime (Lewis, 1922). In 1786, the Pennsylvania Legislature, influenced largely by the penal principles of the Quakers, reduced materially the extent of the application of the death penalty, which now reserves the infliction of capital punishment only…show more content…
The building itself was based on a new design where prison cells do not touch the outside walls of the cell block. The cells were small compared to Eastern and were meant for sleeping. Discipline was small individual cells, large work area for group labor, and enforced silence. Solitary confinement as a punishment led to sickness and insanity. The regimen at Auburn included group work in the shops during the day, separation of prisoners into small individual cells at night, silence at all times, lockstep marching formation, and a group meal at which the prisoners sat face to back (Allen, Latessa, & Ponder,…show more content…
War Department decided to make Alcatraz a permanent military prison. Conditions for the prisoners improved significantly. The top floors of the prison were torn down and new cell houses were constructed. Much of this new construction was completed by the inmates. By 1915, the prison was officially opened as military disciplinary barracks housing five hundred military prisoners. The new philosophy of the prison focused less on retribution and more on rehabilitation. Alcatraz served in that capacity for the next nineteen years. During that time, the army continued to add new buildings to the island (Mcshane & Williams,

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