Prison Development in the U.S. Essay

1391 Words 6 Pages
The United States prison system is an important aspect of today’s society. Without the prison system, there would be no place for the law enforcement agencies to detain the criminals that they have apprehended. Now, prisons today are much nicer than the prisons of the past; it all began with the Pennsylvania system. The Pennsylvania system was “a form of imprisonment developed by the Pennsylvania Quakers around 1790 as an alternative to corporal punishments.” (Schmalleger, 411). This prison that was developed in the 1790s used the means of solitary confinement and pushed for rehabilitation for the inmates (Schmalleger, 411). This new form of imprisonment encouraged society to create other prisons based on the same system, such as the …show more content…
This style was “a late nineteenth-century correctional model based on the use of the indeterminate sentence and a belief in the possibility of rehabilitation, especially for youthful offenders. The purpose of this style of prison was to help its inmates develop and correct their ways so that they could function as working members of society and not the criminal actors that they had been. An interesting tidbit is that the Reformatory Style was in place in some other countries before it came to the United States, due to Captain Alexander Maconochie and Sir Walter Crofton. Maconochie was the warden of Norfolk Island, which is a prison off the coast of Australia, and Maconochie developed a system that allowed the inmates could earn “credits” so that they could purchase their freedom from the prison (413). This system still exists in American prison systems today, through early releases, probation, and community service.
Soon after the reformatory model, the Industrial prison system came into effect. This system was “a correctional model intended to capitalize on the labor of convicts sentenced to confinement” (Schmalleger, 415). This new labor system of imprisonment was divided into six separate systems as well, they are: the contract system, piece-price system, lease system, public-account system, state-use system, and public-works system (415). Each of these six systems varied in the type of work done, the contract…