Purpose and History of Penitentiaries
Throughout history, approaches to how to handle criminals for the crimes they commit has evolved from the more severe of corporal punishments to the more humane and civilized ways of punishment. Different theories for crime and criminal behavior has contributed towards how punishments were rendered to criminals. These theories range from studying criminal behavior for root cause of crime to more modern focus and emphasis on holding criminals accountable for their actions. These theories helped pave and shape the way criminals are punished in the present time. In early times, punishments have ranged from torture to public humiliation, capital punishment as well as even taking criminals out of society completely. In modern times, punishments have become more structured through the use of prisons, reform policy to emphasize rehabilitative approaches to reverse criminal behavior.
The prison system has undergone many changes since its time of inception. Prisons were created to house criminals with a primary agenda of keeping them away from society while offering them no options or possibility of changing their behaviors. Since punishments were more geared towards brutality and mainly utilized corporal punishment early on the United States. As prisons became more populated and overcrowded, new ways to manage and utilize the criminals developed. Different approaches on how to treat, handle, and make use of prisoners spawned ideas developed by the Quakers who abolished capital punishment for all crimes except for homicides while also substituting corporal punishments for hard labor (Seiter, 2014). This became known as the Quaker code which was later revised in the late 1700s when the first prison was established in the United States which focused on giving criminals labor work while carrying out their time served.
During the history and development of prisons, there were two systems of imprisonment that became relevant in establishing how criminals were handled. These two systems were known as the Pennsylvania and Auburn systems. The Pennsylvania system focused on a “separate and silent” approach of operating a prison with emphasis on prisoner reform while avoiding criminal contamination amongst ot...