Prisons Today: Change Stations or Warehouses?
By: Ryan Baalman and Jake Cox
History of Prisons in America
Development of prisons is mainly American. About the late 18-th century incarceration of criminals was much more humane than the other means used before.
In the 19th century two systems of penitentiaries were made. The Pennsylvania and the Auburn system. The Pennsylvania system was formed to rehabilitate criminals through incarceration and isolation from the general public. The system was used in 1970 at the Walnut Street Jail, which was one of the first facility for punishment in the country. This system gave inmates time to think about the crime that was committed. Under this system inmates were not allowed to speak to other inmates or guards. The auburn system began as a way to better rehabilitate inmates. This was done by allowing prisoners to work together during the day then be segregated at night in separate cells. Over time correction facilities lifted the talking bans at night between cells.
These two systems of rehabilitation systems eventually spread to other countries and in time became world-wide. The systems allowed for complete breakdown of inmates to rehabilitate them to make the right decision when they are released.
There are nine different Eras in prison history:
Penitentiary Era-(1790-1825) Pennsylvania and Auburn system were born. 30 state prisons built.
Mass Prison Era-(1825-1876) Rehabilitation prisons flourished, 35 more prisons built.
Reformatory Era-(1876-1890) Allowing inmates with intermediate sentences to be Released on Parole, 20 reformatories
were built. First women’s prison built in New York.
Industrial Era-(1890-1935) Prison industries were created, public accounts system. Which are programs within a prison
that the facility pays for the items and allows inmates to built or raise homes, animals, etc.. Then the facility either
sells or donates the final product of the animal or item that the inmates had trained or built. Contract system
eventually replaced the public account system, which allowed inmate labor to go to the highest bidder.
Punitive Era-(1935-1945) Alcatraz was built with the emphasis of strict punishment and custody in mind.
Treatment Era-(1945-1967) began with riots in prisons due to overcrowding. The medical model was used to treat inmate
behavior as a disease.
Community-Based Era-(1967-1980) half-way houses and community corrections buildings were made.
Warehousing Era-(1980-1995) parole was abolished in several states. Incarceration turned to incapacitation. President
Reagan declared “war on drugs.” Prisons became overcrowded making control difficult.
Just-Deserts Era-(1985-present) Prisoners are punished fairly on the severity of the crime committed.
Lifetime chances for men are 1in 9 and are six times higher than women (1 in 56)
1 in 3 black males
1 in 6 Hispanic males
1 in 7 white males
All above are expected to be in prison during lifetime
Who are in prison?
11% fed. 89% state
93% male 7% female
34% white 19% Hispanic 41% black 6% other
17% 18-24yo 34% 25-34yo 30% 35-44yo 14% 45-54yo 5% 55+
Why are they in prison?
51% violent offenses
7% public order
18% public order
Programs for prisoners
Prisoners go through a classification process to help authorities decide which prison programs are necessary for rehabilitation. This is done to help decide where in the facility the inmate will be put, help staff to better understand the prisoners needs and problems, and to insure safety. There are two types of classification, external and internal. External classification helps with which security level the inmate should be while inside the facility. Internal classification focuses more on the inmates personality and medical issues.
There are several programs for inmates to participate in while incarcerated. Such as: community service, prison industries, education, recreation, and health care.
Does Incarceration Work?
The only way to see if it does work or not is to just do random designed experiments. The prisons keep a general detterence to help eliminate crime. By locking people up the government can maintain public safety much easier and in more effective ways. Even though incarcerating a person is expensive it must be done to help maintain order in the country. June 2002 272,111 prisoners were released and monitored. In three years 68% were arrested once again.
Content of Tab No. 3.