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CHAPTER. 13. Prisons and Jails. Early Punishments. flogging mutilation branding public humiliation workhouses exile. Penitentiary Era. 1790-1825 Philadelphia Penitentiary begun by Quakers for humane treatment of offenders (Walnut Street Jail)

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  • Prisons and Jails

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Early Punishments

  • flogging

  • mutilation

  • branding

  • public humiliation

  • workhouses

  • exile

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Penitentiary Era


  • Philadelphia Penitentiary begun by Quakers for humane treatment of offenders (Walnut Street Jail)

  • Rehabilitation through penance (solitary confinement and Bible study)

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Mass Prison Era


  • Auburn Prison (New York) featured group workshops and silence enforced by whipping and hard labor- solitary confinement too expensive

  • Pennsylvania system found to be more conducive to reformation (inmates not contaminated by other inmates)

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Reform Era


  • Based on European models

  • Elmira Reformatory (NY) attempted reform rather than punishment.

  • A system of graded stages in educational, behavioral and other goals (earn credits to buy freedom)

  • Ultimately considered a failure (many inmates returned following release)

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Industrial Era


  • prisoners used for cheap labor (due to rising costs of imprisonment)

  • prisons featured thick, high walls, smokestacks, guard towers and stone/brick buildings

  • industrial production in the North, agriculture in the South

  • labor complained of competing with cheap, forced labor

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Punitive Era


  • characterized by belief that prisoners owed a debt to society

  • custody and institutional security the central values

  • few innovations- lack of education, treatment

    and work programs

    Example- Alcatraz

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Treatment Era


  • based on the medical model- suggested inmates were sick and needed treatment

  • most treatments include individual or group therapy

  • seemed to find that it was more of an ideal than a reality

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Community-Based Era


  • based on premise that rehabilitation cannot occur in isolation from the real world

  • Also huge problem of overcrowding

  • prisons considered dehumanizing

  • include:

    • half-way houses

    • work-release

    • study-release

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Warehousing Era


  • public and judicial disapproval of release programs and recidivism led to longer sentences with fewer releases

  • prison overcrowding became widespread (1980-2000 state and fed prisons grew from 329K to 1.4 million)

  • greater emphasis on incarcerating non-violent drug offenders

  • “nothing works doctrine”- rehabilitation little success

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“Just Desserts” Era


  • emphasis on individual responsibility and punishment

  • imprisonment is a proper consequence of criminal and irresponsible behavior

  • chain gangs, “three-strikes” and reduced parole

  • Seemed to be return to Just deserts- root purpose of punishment

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Prisons Today

  • Approximately

  • 1,500 state prisons

  • 84 federal prisons

  • 476 state and federal prisoners per 100,000 population

  • On January 1, 2003, state and federal prisons held 1,440,655 inmates. Slightly more than 6.8% of those imprisoned were women.

Numbers and Types of Prisons

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Prisons Today

  • Whites- 1229 incarcerated per 100,000 white males in their

    late 20’s.

  • Blacks- 10,376 incarcerated per 100,000 black males in their late 20’s.

Race (huge disparity)

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Prisons Today

  • State Level

  • 49% sentenced for violent crime.

  • 19% sentenced for property crime.

  • 20% sentenced for drug crime.

  • Federal Level

  • 55% sentenced for drug law violations.

Types of Crimes

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Prison Systems

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Security Levels




Prisons Today

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high fences/walls of concrete

barriers between living area and outer perimeter

--electric perimeters

--laser motion detectors

--electronic locking systems

--metal detectors

--X-ray machines

--television surveillance

Prisons Today

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thick walls

secure cells

gun towers

armed guards

radio communication between staff

Prisons Today

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Similar in design to maximum security facilities, however, theyallow prisoners more freedom. In them, prisoners can usually:

associate with other prisoners

go to the prison yard

use exercise room/equipment

visit the library

take showers and use bathroom facilities with less supervision

Prisons Today

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While individual cells predominate, dormitory style housing is sometimes used.

Cells and living quarters tend to have more windows.

These facilities tend to have barbed wire fences instead of large stone walls.

Prisons Today

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“Count”-important security tool

The process of counting inmates during the course of a day. Times arerandom, and all business stops until the count is verified.

Prisons Today

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Housing tends to be dormitory style, and prisoners usually have freedom of movement within the facility.

Work is done under general supervision only.

Guards are unarmed, and gun towers do not exist.

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

“Counts” are usually not taken.

Prisoners are sometimes allowed to wear their own clothes.

Prisons Today

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Rates of Imprisonment in the United States

Source: Paige M. Harrison and Allen J. Beck, Prisoners in 2002 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003).

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The Federal

Prison System

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Federal Prison System

  • 1895- Leavenworth, Kansas - First non- military federal prison opens.

  • 1906- Second federal prison opens in Atlanta.

  • 1927-Alderson, West Virginia - First federal prison for women.

  • 1933- Springfield, Missouri - Medical Center for federal prisoners.

  • 1934- Alcatraz begins operations.


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Federal Correctional Facilities

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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5 different Security Levels

administrative maximum (ADMAX)

high security

medium security

low security

minimum security

administrative facility

Federal Prison System

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Federal Prison System

  • ADMAX mean ultra-maximum security.

  • Only federal ADMAX prison is in Florence, CO (page 563).

  • The 575 bed facility opened in 1995.

Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

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Federal Prison System

  • Dangerous prisoners are confined to cells 23 hours per day & not allowed to associate with one another.

  • Only toughest 1% of federal prison population is confined there.

  • ADMAX holds mob bosses, spies, terrorists murderers, escape artists, etc.

Administrative Maximum (ADMAX)

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Federal Prison System

  • armed perimeter patrols

  • intense electronic surveillance

  • designed to prevent escapes and contain disturbances

  • holds 10% of federal prison population

  • 8 facilities

  • Examples: Atlanta, GA

    • Lewisburg, PA

    • Terre Haute, IN

    • Leavenworth, KS

High Security (U.S. Penitentiaries)

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Federal Prison System

  • double chain link fence

  • electronic monitoring of grounds

  • 23% of federal prison population

  • 26 facilities

  • examples: Terminal Island, CA

    • Lompoc, CA

    • Seagoville, TX

Medium Security (Federal Correctional Institutions)

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Federal Prison System

  • surrounded by double chain link fence

  • vehicle patrols of perimeter

  • holds 28% of federal prison population

  • 17 facilities

Low Security

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Federal Prison System

  • essentially honor-type camps

  • barrack style housing

  • no fences

  • holds 35% of federal prison population

  • 55 facilities

  • examples: Elgin Air Force Base, FL

    • Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

Minimum Security (Federal Prison Camps)

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Federal Prison System

  • institutions with special missions

  • most are Metropolitan Detention Centers (MDCs)

  • generally located in large cities, close to federal courthouses

  • hold inmates awaiting trial

  • 5 Medical Centers for Federal Prisoners (MCFP)

Administrative Facility

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original purpose- Short-term confinement of suspects following arrest and awaiting trial.

current use- Jails hold those convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies, as well as holding suspects following arrest and awaiting trial (also violators).


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  • 586,000 men are held in jails.

  • 80,000 women are held in jails.

  • 7,248 juveniles are held in jails.

  • 60% are pre-trial detainees or involved in some phase of the trial process.

  • 22% have been charged with a drug offense (largest %).

Statistics - 2003

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  • 3,365 jails in the U.S.

  • 207,600 correctional officers

  • 2.9/1 inmate/staff ratio

  • $14,500 average cost to keep a person in jail for a year


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  • 20,000,000 people are admitted annually to jail.

  • most jails are designed to house 50 prisoners or less.

  • 6% of all jails hold over 50% of all prisoners.

  • Largest “mega-jails” are in Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, Arizona, and Harris County, Texas.


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Causes of Jail Deaths in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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Women comprise only 12% of the country’s jail population.

They face a number of special problems, including:

Women and Jail

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4% of female inmates are pregnant when they come to jail (few hundred children born yearly).

Not all jails fully separate men and women.

Substance abuse is high.

Women and Jail

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Women make up 22% of the correctional force in jails across the nation.

Many jails have no female correctional personnel on staff.

Women and Jail

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end of 1980’s across the nation. - Jails were overcrowded.

Court ordered caps put on population.

2000- Jail capacity increased, and occupancy was at 92% of rated capacity.

Growth of Jails

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new jail management strategy - across the supervision

system of pods or modular self-contained housing areas

open environment

Growth of Jails

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adding critical programs for inmates (drug treatment) across the nation.

increasing jail industries

use of citizen volunteers

jail “boot camps”

Future of Jails

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States use private prisons to: across the nation.

reduce overcrowding

lower operating expenses

avoid lawsuits

Private Prisons