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Chapter XII. Prisons and Jails. Early Punishments. Flogging Mutilation Branding Public Humiliation Workhouses Exile. Flogging Through Middle Ages most widely used form of punishment in England Used by American colonists as well as on the Western frontier.

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Chapter XII

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Chapter XII

  • Prisons and Jails

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Early Punishments

  • Flogging

  • Mutilation

  • Branding

  • Public Humiliation

  • Workhouses

  • Exile

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Through Middle Ages most widely used form of punishment in England

Used by American colonists as well as on the Western frontier

Last officially sanctioned flogging in U.S. – Delaware – June 16, 1952 – burglar received 20 lashes

Early Punishments

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11th century England – blinding, cutting off of ears, ripping out tongues of individuals who poached on the King’s land

Amputation has been part of some societies by:

cutting hands off of thieves

blinding spies

castrating rapists

removing tongues of blasphemers

breaking fingers of pickpockets

Early Punishments:Mutilation

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Early Romans, Greeks, French, and British used branding

Served to readily identify individuals who had been convicted of some offense

1829 – British Parliament outlawed branding

Early Punishments:Branding

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U.S. – branding was customary in the colonies

first offenders branded on the hand

repeat offenders branded on the forehead

women were rarely branded – instead they were shamed and forced to wear marks on their clothing

Early Punishments:Branding

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Ducking stool – a see-saw device to which offender is tied and lowered into a lake or river

Brank – birdcage like contraption that fit over head. Door on front by mouth is fitted with a razor blade which enters mouth when door is closed

Early Punishments:Public Humiliation

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Stock – person sits with hands locked in a wooden structure – head is free

Pillory – person forced to stand because of wooden structure that closed over head and hands

Early Punishments:Public Humiliation

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Early Punishments:Workhouses

Early form of imprisonment designed to foster habits of industry in the poor

  • 1557 – first workhouse opens in England

  • Former British palace called St. Bridget’s Well

  • nickname “Brideswill” which became synonym for workhouse

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Practice of sending offenders out of country

Hebrews sent goat carrying sins of man into desert to be exiled

French sent offenders to Devil’s Island

Russia sent dissidents to Serbia

England sent offenders to the colonies beginning in 1618 – program called “transportation”

American revolution stopped practice of transportation

Early Punishments:Exile

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Early Prisons:Middle Ages

First prison existed in Europe – 1400 & 1500s – for debtors

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Converted to prison by Quakers

Study of bible was primary method

Goal was to provide religion and humanity to imprisoned

Offenders held in solitary confinement

Penitentiary Era (1790-1825):Walnut Street Jail

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Became known as the “Pennsylvania System”

Handicrafts were introduced allowing prisoners to work in their cells

Penitentiary Era (1790-1825):Walnut Street Jail

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Penitentiary Era (1790-1825)

  • 1826 – Western Penitentiary opened in Pittsburgh, PA

  • 1829 - Eastern Penitentiary opened in Cherry Hill, PA

  • Other states followed:




    New York

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Introduced “congregate,” but, silent style

Offenders ate, lived, and worked together in silence

Corporal punishment was used for rule violators

From 1825 onward – most prisons built in U.S. followed Auburn system

Became known as the “Auburn System”

New York State Prison at Auburn

Mass Prison Era (1825-1876)

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890)

Based upon use of indeterminate sentence and belief in rehabilitation

Reformatory movement is the result of the work of two men:

  • Captain Alexander Maconochie

  • Sir Walter Crofton

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Captain Alexander Maconochie

  • Warden of Norfolk Island prison off of coast of Australia in 1840s

  • prisoners at Norfolk were “doubly condemned”

    • They had been “transported” to Australia because of crimes they had committed and then they committed additional crimes while in Australia

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Captain Alexander Maconochie

  • prisoners at Norfolk were “doubly condemned” (con’t.)

    • Maconochie developed “mark system”

    • prisoners could earn credits to buy their freedom

    • negative behavior caused marks to be lost

      Mark system constituted first “early release” program

  • Maconochie became known as “father of parole”

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Sir Walter Crofton

  • Head of Irish Prison System

  • Adapted Maconochie’s early release program

  • Set up four-stage program

    • Entry stage– offenders placed in solitary confinement and given simple, unmotivating work

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Sir Walter Crofton

  • four-stage program (con’t.)

    • Second stage – offenders worked on fortifications at Spike Island where they were housed

    • Field Unit stage – offenders worked on public service projects in the community

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Sir Walter Crofton

  • four-stage program (con’t.)

    • Ticket of Leave stage – allowed offenders to live and work in community under occasional supervision of “moral instructor”

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Sir Walter Crofton

Ticket of Leave could be revoked at any time and offender would serve remaining time of sentence in prison

Crofton believed that reintegration into community was necessary for success of rehabilitation

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Elmira Reformatory (1876)

Zebulon Brockway was warden at Elmira

A leading advocate of the indeterminate sentence

Elmira accepted only first time offenders between ages 16-30

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Elmira Reformatory (1876)

System of graded stages requiring offenders to meet goals in:

  • education

  • behavior

  • other appropriate goals

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Reformatory Era (1876-1890):Elmira Reformatory (1876)

Training made available in such areas as:

  • telegraphy

  • tailoring

  • plumbing

  • carpentry

  • The movement proved to be a failure

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    Southern Prisons

    Farm labor

    Public works projects

    Goal – to maximize use of offender labor movement began in industrial northeast U.S.

    Northern Prisons

    Smelted steel

    Made furniture

    Molded tires

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)

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    Types of Offender Labor Systems

    Contract system

    Piece-price system

    Lease system

    Public account system

    State use system

    Public works

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)

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    Piece-price system

    Goods produced for private business inside of prison

    Prisoners paid according to number and quality of goods they produced

    Contract system

    Private business paid for rent of inmate labor

    Private business provided raw materials and supervised manufacturing process inside of prison

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)

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    Lease system

    Prisoners taken outside of prison to work

    Once at work site – private business people took over supervision and employed prisoners

    Public account system

    Industries owned entirely by prisons

    Prisons handled manufacturing of goods from beginning to end

    Finished goods sold on free market

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)

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    Public Works system

    Prisoners maintained public roadways, cleaned public parks, maintained and restored public buildings

    State Use system

    Prisons manufactured goods ONLY for use by the prison or government agencies

    Prisons could NOT compete on the free market because of inexpensive labor advantage

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)

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    Required prison goods to conform to regulations of the states through which they were shipped

    States that outlawed manufacture of free market goods in their own prisons thereby prevented shipment of prison made goods from other states under this act

    Act came about as a result of complaints by labor that they could not compete with cheap prison labor

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)Hawes-Cooper Act (1929)

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    Specifically prohibited interstate transportation and sale of prison made goods where prohibited by state law

    Act came about partly as a result of the Depression

    Ashurst-Sumners Act effectively ended industrial prison era

    Industrial Prison Era: (1890-1935)Ashurst-Sumners Act (1935)

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    With moratorium on prison industries – prisons reverted back to custody and security as main goals

    Large maximum security prisons evolved in rural “out-of-sight” locations

    Punitive Era (1935-1945)

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    Development of behavioral techniques in 1930s and 1940s brought about concept of treatment in prisons

    Treatment based on “medical model”

    Individual and group therapy programs evolved

    Treatment Era (1945-1967)

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    Types of therapy programs:

    Behavioral therapy



    Sensory deprivation

    Aversion therapy

    Treatment Era (1945-1967)

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    Behavioral therapy

    structured to provide rewards for approved behavior while punishing inappropriate behavior


    Use of drugs – especially tranquilizers to modify behavior

    Treatment Era (1945-1967)

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    Used to control aggressive behavior and destructive urges – frontal lobotomies were part of this approach

    Sensory deprivation

    Denial of stimulation by isolating prisoners in quiet, secluded environment

    Aversion therapy

    Drugs and/or electric shock used to teach prisoner to associate negative behavior with pain and displeasure

    Treatment Era (1945-1967)

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    Community-Based Treatment Era (1967-1980)

    • Relies upon resources of community instead of prison

    • Plan is to keep offender in the community

    • Half-way house – community-based treatment program whereby individual lives at house but is allowed to go to work during the day

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    State and federal prison populations, inmates v. capacity, 1980-1998 Source: Correctional Populations in the United States (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, various years)

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    Individuals who have been placed on probation and one condition is that they reside in the half-way house


    Individuals on parole and one condition of their parole is that they reside at a half-way house

    Community-Based Treatment Era (1967-1980)

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    U.S. prison population, historical and projected growth, 1960-2002 Source: “Inmate Population Expected to Increase by 43% by 2002,” Corrections Compendium, April 1996 and Prisoners in 1998, A. Beck and C.J. Mumola (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999)

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    Robert Martinson

    “Nothing Works” Study (1974)

    Surveyed 231 research studies that evaluated correctional treatment programs between 1945-1967

    None of the 231 programs appeared to substantially reduce recidivism

    Warehousing/Overcrowding Era (1980-1995)

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    Warehousing/Overcrowding Era (1980-1995)

    Recidivism – The commission of another crime by an individual who has previously been convicted of a crime; the new crime may be the same or different from the first crime

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    Warehousing/Overcrowding Era (1980-1995)

    Dimensions of overcrowding:

    Nearly 1,300,000 persons incarcerated at beginning of 1999

    1999– Bureau of Justice Statistics Report

    • Federal prisons overcrowding was approximately 27%

    • State level, overcrowding running between 13% and 22%

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    Warehousing/Overcrowding Era (1980-1995)

    Definitions of Prison Capacity

    Design Capacity – the prison population the institution was originally built to handle

    Operational Capacity – the number of prisoners a facility can effectively accommodate basedon the staff and programs of the facility

    Rated Capacity – refers to size of the prison population that a facility can handle according to the judgment of experts

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    Imprisonment is seen as fully deserved and a proper consequence of criminal behavior

    Root purpose of imprisonment is punishment

    Just Deserts Era (1995-present)

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    Reductions in –

    personal property allowed

    restrictions on outside purchases

    elimination of cable TV

    abolish family visits

    no more special occasion banquets

    1995 – Virginia abolishes parole, increased the length of sentences for certain violent crimes, and planned building of 12 new prisons

    1995 – 28 states reported a decrease in prisoner privileges during previous 12 months

    Just Deserts Era (1995-present)

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    Approximately 1,000state prisons

    80 federal prisons

    461 state and federal prisoners per 100,000 population

    On January 1, 1999 – state and federal prisons held 1,302,019 inmates

    Male incarceration rate – 995 per 100,000 males

    Femaleincarceration rate – 51 per 100,000 females

    Prisons Today:Numbers and Types of Prisons

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    U.S. incarceration by race and sex, Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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    Whites – 868 incarcerated per 100,000 white males in their late 20s

    Blacks – 8630 incarcerated per 100,000 black males in their late 20s

    Prisons Today:Race

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    State Level

    46% sentenced for violent crime

    24% sentenced for property crime

    23% sentenced for drug crime

    Federal Level

    60% sentenced for drug law violations

    Prisons Today:Types of Crimes

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    Low level of formal education

    Socially disadvantaged background

    Lack of significant vocational skills

    Most have served time in a juvenile facility

    Prisons Today:Inmates

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    Prisons Today:Staff

    347,000 people employed in corrections

    20% of all correctional officers are female

    70% of correctional officers are white

    22% of correctional officers are black

    5% of correctional officers are Hispanic

    4.1 to 1 inmate/custody staff ratio

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    Prisons Today:Security Levels




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    Prisons Today:Security Levels - Maximum

    • High levels of security characterized by:

      • high fences/walls of concrete

      • barriers between living area and outer perimeter

        • electric perimeters

        • laser motion detectors

        • electronic and pneumatic locking systems

        • metal detectors

        • X-ray machines

        • television surveillance

      • thick walls

      • secure cells

      • gun towers

      • armed guards

      • radio communication between staff

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    Prisons Today:Security Levels - Medium

    Similar in design to maximum security facilities, however, they allow prisoners more freedom

    Prisoners can usually:

    • associate with other prisoners

    • go to prison yard

    • use exercise room/equipment

    • use library

    • use shower and bathroom facilities under less supervision

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    Prisons Today:Security Levels - Medium


    Process of counting number of inmates during course of day. Times are random and all business stops until count is verified

    Medium security facilities tend to have barbed wire at top of fences instead of large stone walls of maximum security facilities

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    Prisons Today:Security Levels - Medium

    While individual cells predominate, dormitory style housing is sometimes used

    Cells and living quarters tend to have more windows

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    Rates of imprisonment in the United States

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    Prisons Today:Security Levels - Minimum

    Housing tends to be dormitory style and prisoners usually have freedom of movement around the facility

    Work under only general supervision

    Guards are unarmed and gun towers do not exist

    Fences, if they do exist, are low and sometimes unlocked

    “Counts” are usually not taken

    Sometimes allowed to wear their own clothes

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    Federal Prison System:History

    1895 – Leavenworth, Kansas – first federal prison for civilians

    1906 – second prison in Atlanta opened

    1927 – Alderson, West Virginia – first federal prison for women

    1933 – Springfield, Missouri – Medical Center - for federal prisoners opened with 1,000 bed capacity

    1934 – Alcatraz began operations

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    Federal Prison System:Security levels

    Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

    High Security

    Medium Security

    Low Security

    Minimum Security

    Administrative Facility

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    Federal Prison System:Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

    Ultra-maximum security

    Located in Florence, Colorado

    575 bed facility opened in 1995

    Dangerous prisoners confined to cell 23 hours per day

    Prisoners not allowed to associate with each other

    1% of federal prison population

    Holds mob bosses, spies, terrorists, murderers, escape artists, etc.

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    Armed patrol

    Intense electronic surveillance

    Designed to prevent escapes and contain disturbances

    10% of federal prison population

    8 facilities


    Atlanta, Georgia

    Lewisburg, PA

    Terre Haute, Indiana

    Leavenworth, Kansas

    Federal Prison System:High Security (called U.S. Penitentiaries)

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    (called Federal Correctional Institutions)

    Double chain link fence

    Electronic monitoring of grounds

    23% of federal prison population

    26 facilities


    Terminal Island, California

    Lompoc, California

    Seagoville, Texas

    Federal Prison System:Medium Security

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    Surrounded by double chain link fence

    Employs vehicle patrols of perimeter

    27% of federal prison population

    17 facilities

    Federal Prison System:Low Security

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    (called Federal Prison Camps)

    Essentially honor-type camps

    Barrack type housing

    No fences

    31% of federal prison population

    55 facilities


    Elgin Air Force Base, Florida

    Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama

    Federal Prison System:Minimum Security

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    Medical Centers for Federal Prisoners (MCFP)

    5 facilities that function as hospitals

    Institutions with special missions

    Most are Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs)

    Generally located in large cities, close to federal courthouses

    Jails holding inmates awaiting trial

    Federal Prison System:Administrative Facility

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    Original Purpose – short-term confinement of suspects following arrest and awaiting trial

    Current Use – hold those convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies as well as holding suspects following arrest and awaiting trial


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    Jails:Statistics - 1996

    455,098 men held in jail

    52,136 women held in jail

    7,888 juveniles held in jail

    50% are pre-trial detainees or involved in some phase of the trial process

    25% have been charged with a drug offense

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    Jails:Statistics - 1999

    528,661 men held in jail

    63,791 women held in jail

    8,090 juveniles held in jail

    57% are pre-trial detainees or involved in some phase of the trial process

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    3,304 jails

    165,500 correctional officers

    3.6/1 inmate/staff ratio

    $14,667 spent on average to house person in jail for a year

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    20,000,000people admitted annually to jail

    2/3of all jails designed to house50or less prisoners

    6% of the jails hold over 50% of the prisoners

    Almost 50% of jail population held in 5 states – California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Georgia

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    Causes of Jail Deaths in the U.S.Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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    Private Prisons

    Definition:correctional institutions operated by private firms on behalf of local and state governments

    1980s– private prison movement began

    1986 - 2,620 prisoners in privately run prisons

    1997-74,000 prisoners in privately run prisons

    1998– 80,000 prisoners in privately run prisons

    1997– 124 private prisons in 18 states

    1998– 130 private prisons in 18 states

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    Private Prisons

    States use private prisons to:

    Reduce overcrowding

    Lower operating expenses

    Avoid lawsuits

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