Describe the major historical events leading to the development of modern prisons in American. Identify key figures whose policies were instrumental in shaping early correctional practices.
Prison reform was introduced by the urge to do away with the French revolution at the end of the revolutionary war and the efforts stimulated by Beccaria, Howard and Pennsylvania reformers to change the criminal law and penal administration. William Quaker 1600’s advocated for the demolition of death penalty because he perceived the practice as inhuman and against social injustice. This was followed by the replacement of death penalty with capital punishment where the Walnut Street Gaol prison was the first to initiate incarceration as the primary punishment to its convicts. In 1817 Auburn state prison in New York adopted a prison system where prisoners performed communal work together in total silence that private entrepreneurs had contracted the government/state to perform during the day but were locked up separately at night. This model referred to as congregate model faced criticism because prisoners were subjected to work which they were not paid. In 1829 a second prison system model known as the solitary model was introduced in Pennsylvania, Eastern State Penitentiary at Cherry Hill where prisoners were kept in solitude during the day and at night and were only allowed to read the Bible. This model was also criticized as most of the prisoners became mentally ill while others committed suicide (Roth 72-278).
This led to the notion of introducing rehabilitative correction facilities that was initiated in 1870 by the National Congress on Penitentiary and Reformatory Discipline which is currently known as the American Correctional Association when they met in Cincinnati, Ohio. These policies were later perpetuated by E. C. Wines and Zebulon Brockway by the establishment of juvenile correction facilities. However, the implementation of these policies into the correction facilities culture became effective in the 1900’s as probation, parole, work release, community corrections, and even a separate system of procedures and courts for dealing with juvenile offenders were enacted. Programs such as vocational training and psychological counseling were also introduced with the aim of providing rehabilitative services to the prisoners. The mid 1900’s led to the modernization of correction facilities to cater for the growing convict population and demands. This has led to the centralization of prison facilities thus advocating for professional work force and management. Also today prison facilities have the opportunity of holding convicts in their home area. Furthermore, the mandate stipulated by the 8th amendment of the US constitution requires all prison facilities to adopt modern technology humane environments within the facilities (McKelvey 183).
What are six major areas of prison reform? Describe each.
America has been rated to house the biggest number of convicts because recently it has over five times the world’s number of housed prisoners. This fact has led to overcrowding in the prison facilities resulting to depletion of resources and poor management. Thus new correction facilities are constructed to reduce the overpopulated prisons that house approximately 130% of the required capacity. In the process tax payers are suffering because the rate of tax money that they contribute has increased despite the economic recession that they are facing. Statistics show that prison facilities utilize about USD44 billion dollars of the tax payers’ money to maintain, run and open up new facilities. Also the war against drugs has contributed to the increase in the population of the prison facilities as over I million non-violent offenders have been imprisoned in comparison to only about 41,000 non-violent offenders that were imprisoned in 1980. Therefore, there have been proposed prison reforms to reduce the overall prison population and early release of low-risk non-violent convicts with the aim of locking up only the dangerous criminals and gang leaders.
It is also quite evident that approximately two-thirds of released convicts end up back in jail after about three years because of violation of their parole principles and conditions or because of committing new crimes. Therefore, prison reforms aim at improving the care that is provided in the prison facilities during the time of prisoner’s confinement and after release from the facilities. The reforms proposes that while in custody the prisoners are subjected to non-violent management systems where they face reformative actions and liberty as the society is protected from their menace. Spiritual and psychological guidance and counseling services are also provided through the establishment of vocational training programs among others. Willing prisoners are also subjected to the education system where they gain the required educational knowledge and skills in accordance to the America’s education curriculum. During the release the prisoner are well taken care off by being provided with secure employment opportunities while care is also been extended to the prisoner’s family members. Thus it’s been proposed that homes which will house released convicts to extend external prison care after release should be increased to release the burden on the few existing homes.
Another prison reform that has been proposed is the improvement of the nation’s drug policy to cater for the needs of the mentally ill and improve the treatment services accorded to them. The adopted prison models provide a favorable environment for the development of mental illnesses in convicts. For instance it has been reported that approximately a sixth of the imprisoned convicts suffer from mental disorders and related mental illnesses. Also the sanitation and provision of health care services in prison facilities should be improved to decrease the cases of diseases and spread of communicable diseases. The other type of prison reform is geared towards changing the incarceration from corporate/capital punishment to increase in the length of prisoner imprisonment with the aim of rehabilitating prisoners by instilling social responsibility in them. Violence and brutality in the prison facility has increased resulting to the need of reforming prison system to fight for the respect and recognition of the human rights of prisoners. Another major area for prison system reform is the employment of a qualified and competent workforce. The workforce should be well versed with the law and legal procedures to help in the rightful management of the prison system (Masur 12-220).
What was the Original Philosophy of Probation? Does this Philosophy Continue to Dominate and Influence Probation Programs? Why or Why not?
The original philosophy of probation relied on humanitarian efforts where first time offenders and minor criminals were given a second chance to prove that they could behave in a morally accepted manner and obey the law in an attempt of reducing their sentences. Probation officers were supposed to offer moral guidance to change the convicts attitudes and behavior in accordance to human norms and ethics. The concept of probation has changed overtime changing its original philosophy. At sometime probation was perceived as a therapeutic process and the probation officers acted like social workers by helping the offenders to solve their psychological and social problems. Today probation is termed as a risk management process where the chances for the convict to commit crime are minimized in an attempt of offering community protection (Raina 25-112).
What are Four Functions of Probation?
Probation is geared towards protection of the community from the menace caused by convicts by monitoring them to ensure they abide by the probation conditions. This helps the offender to live a life that is free from crime which is achieved by offering rehabilitation services to the offenders through treatment programs. Probation also offers social help to convicts by securing them job and education opportunities. Finally probation helps convicts to become productive members of the society.
What Innovations were introduced during the Late Nineteenth Century?
Reformatory systems that were used to deal with the youth and first time offenders were introduced into the prison system in the late 19th century. Correction facilities were segregated and factors such as vocational education and training were introduced. The prisoners were also subjected to industrial employment and parole where the prisoners had the opportunity of been released from the prison confinement or reducing their sentence time if they stimulated good behavior that was morally and ethically right.
Why were juvenile offenders considered to be in harms way if sent to prison?
It was proposed that juveniles tend to move away from their psychopath behaviors while adults remain stable. Therefore, locking up juveniles with adults will increase their chances to commit crime once released from the prison confinement unlike when kept in the juvenile facilities where they will get better education, job training, and drug abuse and mental health treatment.
Who was Thomas Eddy (1758-1837); and what was he famous for in reforming America corrections?
Thomas Eddy was among the reformers who were against the death sentence. Thomas proposed lengthy imprisonment of convicts to allow them to seek personal redemption. He believed that every individual posse an internal light that if well nurtured will give him self salvation. With this notion he introduced a penitentiary system where the prisoners were to be locked up in solitude during day and night with only the possession of a Bible. He believed that this would guide the convicts towards the right path of salvation as they would recognize their wrongful acts, accept them do penance and adopt mechanisms to change from this wrongful way of life (Kann 55).
Who was Zebulon Brockway and what was he famous for in the history of corrections in America?
Zebulon Brockway was a penologist who had worked in the prison system almost his entire life. He was a prison guard in the state prison at Wethersfield, Connecticut and later became a warden of the municipal alms house in Auburn, NY. Zebulon introduced the juvenile prison system in1876 where he became the first superintendent of the Elmira reformatory. He introduced educational programs, vocational training and engagement into physical activities in the prison system. He also introduced military training in the prison setting which was used to instill discipline (Champion 126).
Explain Thomas Osborne’s ideas about inmate self-governance.
Osborne’s ideas about inmate self-governance were geared towards achieving prisoners’ freedom without being a threat to the society whereby he advocated for nurturing of prisoners social responsibility to rehabilitate them instead of subjecting them to capital punishment. In the process the positive aspects of the prisoner’s instincts were emanated. He aimed at reforming the prisoners by making them to be productive to the society by securing them job opportunities (Bruton 76).
Write a Paragraph on John Augustus and His Ideas that Brought about Probation in the American Correctional System.
John Augustus is highly regarded for introducing the concept of probation into the American judicial system. Augustus was a boot maker who convinced the court of law that rehabilitative services can transform a convict to make him become productive to the society. In 1841, he persuaded the Boston police court judge to release a felony (drunkard) into his care for the short period before his sentencing promising to reform his behaviors to be morally accepted before the eyes of the law and the community (Regoli 57).
Masur, P. Louis. Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865. NY: Oxford University Press US, 1991.
Roth, P. Mitchell. Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Publisher. : Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.
Champion, J. Dean. Sentencing: a reference handbook. : ABC-CLIO, 2007.
McKelvey, Blake. American Prisons: A Study in American Social History Prior to 1915. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1936.
Regoli, M. Robert. Exploring Criminal Justice. : Jones & Barlett Publishers, 2007.
Bruton, James. Big House: Life Inside a Supermax Security Prison. : Voyageur Press, 2004.
Kann, E. Mark. Punishment, Prisons, and Patriarchy: Liberty and Power in the Early American. : NYU Press, 2005.
Raina, C. Subash. Probation: Philosophy, Law, and Practice. : Regency Publications, 2002. Length187 pages