Correctional Systems

Correctional Systems


The Pennsylvania system is an early system of U.S penology in which prisoners and convicts were kept in isolated and secluded small rooms where they could learn religious scriptures, contemplate on their transgressions and crimes and execute handiwork. The Reformatory system is the response to Pennsylvania system which aimed at releasing criminals and convicts who had achieved penitence. This paper seeks to compare and contrast between the two different prison systems.

Contrast between Pennsylvania and Reformatory System

Pennsylvania System

The Pennsylvania system was introduced in 1829 in Eastern State Penitentiary at Cherry Hill which was established on grounds of isolated imprisonment for prisoners by day and night. The Pennsylvania system concentrates on hope of healing. It is based on the conception that the convict is alone in the confined space and studies the religious scripture so that he or she may becomes repentant. The primary purpose of the Pennsylvania system is to confine the prisoners.

The amenities and services which are provided to the convicts are usually massive associations with elevated walls made from stones, considerable amount of perimeter security and confinement of detainee. Consequently, the strong concentration on restoring criminals is done with the certainty that long prison terms would allow the prison to have ample time to have desired outcome (Roberts, 2006). The Pennsylvania system is also known as penitentiary because the prisoners were to do repent. The authorities of the system displayed their Quaker values and way of thinking that an individual becomes a criminal by wickedness and malevolence. The solution to reform is primarily based on separating all kinds of evil interactions from the convict (Roberts, 2006). The prisoner confined in a secluded compartment has to stay in isolation. The prisoner was blindfolded as he was directed to his cell and would remain their till his sentence is over. The Pennsylvania authorities held the belief that isolation and seclusion is the key to cure deviant and aberrant behavior of the prisoners.

The Reformatory System

The Reformatory system is based on the concept that some kinds of criminality are examples of mental and psychosomatic conditions or result of an upbringing in an ill-fated societal environment on which the criminal has no control. This concept led to the development of Reformatory systems which strongly emphasized on reform rather than disciplinary and penalizing programs. The reformatory era initiated in the late nineteenth century. The reformatory system focuses that the convicts can earn release with the help of hard work and virtuous conduct. The reformatory system focuses on mark system which the prisoner has to earn on completion of a determined and particular amount of labor.  Reformatory system concentrates on positive rectification, educational programs, trade and work training, recreational facilities, etc (DiIulio, 2006).

Contemporary Correctional System

In today’s time, the best form of correctional system is reformatory system because it exists for reformation. It promotes humanism and promotes the ideas that convicts can be reformed which are compatible with modern-day ethics and principles. The system is neither retributive nor maudlin. Most American prisons can be modeled after the reformatory system because it offers protect the society but with a different solution. This form of system would be success because it can transform deviant offenders into virtuous workers which could help the society.


After comparing the Pennsylvania and Reformatory system, we can conclude that reformatory system is the most suitable form of correctional system which is compatible with present-day ethics and morals. The Reformatory system of reforming prisoners is a positive influence on the American prison system


DiIulio, John (ed.) 2006. Courts, Corrections, and the Constitution: The Impact of Judicial Intervention on Prisons and Jails. Oxford Univ. Press.

Roberts, John 2006. Escaping Prison Myths: The History of Federal Corrections. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.