Essay on History of Corrections

1749 WordsJun 2, 20137 Pages
History of American Corrections The corrections system in America began mostly with the arrival of William Penn and his “Great Law.” This was back in 1682; the “Great Law” was based on humane principals and also focused on hard labor as a punishment. The corrections system really began to take hold in North America in the late 1700’s with the idea’s and philosophy of Beccaria, Bentham, and Howard. These philosophies were based on the thought that prisoners could be treated and reformed back into society. This hard labor was used as an alternative to other cruel forms of punishments that were used in earlier times such as physical abuse or even brutal death. In 1790 came the birth of the Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The…show more content…
“… incapacitation focuses on the characteristics of the offenders instead of the characteristics of the offenses”(Clear, Cole, Reisig). Rehabilitation is more of a therapeutic method to help the criminal ditch crime and become a constructive member in society. “Rehabilitation involves teaching inmates silks and trades that will, hopefully, give them a chance to become law-abiding citizens once they are released from prison” (Long). This method is looked at as more of a treatment than a punishment, to guide the criminal to make better choices and live a better life. Restorative or Community Justice is a fairly new concept. It is aimed more at repairing damages caused by the crime to the victim(s) and the community involved. In this method the victim lays out conditions for the offender and what is necessary to help repair any losses. The community provides assistance to help restore the offender to the community. Some say that this method can be dangerous and bypasses certain safeguards. The goals of corrections are solid efforts to reduce crime. There are many improvements that could be made. As we learn and test these methods, they need to be fine tuned and have the bugs worked out. If something isn’t working in the appropriate way it needs to be addressed and refocused. I think that many of these goals will become weak and maybe overlooked with the new AB 109 bill and other reforms currently taking place in California
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