Corrections Timeline

2539 Words11 Pages
CJ121 – Corrections
14 JUL 2010
Corrections Timeline This narrative will illustrate a timeline depicting four eras within the correctional system of America. The eras that I will be discussing are: 1800, 1920-1950, 1990, and 2000’s. For each era, the following items will be described: the history and development, treatment and punishment of the offenders, the description of the holding and monitoring of the offenders. The conclusion will discuss the alternatives to incarceration and the influences of the eras in today’s correctional system, as well as, recommendations for ways in which the current correctional system could be improved upon. There is no doubt that America is one of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced countries.
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Many of these ideas were directed towards the rehabilitation of offenders. Therefore, the citizens of Pennsylvania led the way in developing the penitentiary. The Pennsylvania system was first utilized in the Eastern State Penitentiary. It was designed like a wagon wheel, with long corridors of cells. This penitentiary was also very advanced in comparison to other correctional facilities of its time, abandoning corporal punishment and mistreatment. This massive new structure, opened in 1829, becoming one of the most expensive American buildings built during its era. Each of the prisoners had their own private cell with a flushing toilet, skylight, and running water. Adjacent to the cell was a private outdoor exercise yard which was enclosed by a ten-foot wall. This was in an age when the White House, which was home to the President of the United States, didn’t even have the luxury of running water and was heated with only coal-burning stoves. The main objective of the Eastern State Penitentiary would not simply punish, but direct the criminal toward a spiritual change or rehabilitation. The early system was very strict. To prevent distraction, knowledge of the building, or even interaction with prison guards, the inmates would be masked whenever they were outside their cells. This method was developed by the Quakers system of isolation from other prisoners, inspirations of religion and the use of hard labor.
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