Essay on New Styles Of Prisons During The 19th Century

Essay on New Styles Of Prisons During The 19th Century

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During the early half of the 19th century, there were two new models of prisons being built in the United States. Along with the new styles of prisons being constructed, two new styles of correctional systems were developed, the Pennsylvania system, and the Auburn, New York system (Mays & Winfree, 2009). Although the designs of the actual prisons were dramatically different, both systems shared similar ideals, with regards to how inmates should spend their days. Ultimately, the Auburn system prevailed as the more popular system of corrections in the United States, with some of the system’s correctional philosophies being used well into the 20th century (Mays & Winfree, 2009). Before discussing the actual philosophies, which were used to manage the inmates in each system, we should first look at the difference in the design of the prisons used in each system.
The Pennsylvania system of corrections originated in 1826, with the construction and opening of the Western State Penitentiary in Pittsburgh. This followed by the construction and opening of the Eastern State Penitentiary near Philadelphia in 1829 (Mays & Winfree, 2009). These institutions were designed to resemble a spoked wheel, with a large rotunda in the middle, and rows of cells, which extended out from the center. The cells were one person cells, which were approximately eight feet by twelve feet in dimension, and each cell had two doors, one leading to an isolated, secure exercise yard, and the other out into the hall, which connected to the rotunda (Mays & Winfree, 2009). In contrast to the Pennsylvania styled prisons, the Auburn styled prisons were designed differently.
In 1816, the New York legislature approved the construction of a new prison building in...


... middle of paper ...


...een the two are stark. Even though both systems employed solitary confinement, in some form, the Pennsylvania system used it exclusively. The Auburn system used a combination of custody statuses to house the inmates (Mays & Winfree, 2009). It was this use of only solitary confinement, which put an end to the Pennsylvania system. It became too expensive to operate these silent prisons, and the enlightened thinkers of the time found it to be inhumane. Reforms were made, and the Auburn system began to be adopted in other parts of the country.

References
Cloud, D. H., Drucker, E., Browne, A., & Parsons, J. (2015). Public Health and Solitary Confinement in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), 18-26. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302205
Mays, G.L. & Winfree, L.T. (2009). Essentials of Corrections (4th Ed.), United States, Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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