Dorothea Dix Prison Reform Movement

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Throughout their sentence, prison inmates endured miserable life before and during the Prison Reform Movement of 1800’s, unlivable conditions, and physical abuse from the guards. “Men rarely become spiritually better by being made subject, through human discipline, to extreme bodily discomforts; these convicts are not made morally better by such treatment as they are subjected to here in the days of bodily weakness and pain” (Lightner 56).
Prison Reform Movement from 1870-1930, greatly changed what type of treatment that was acceptable in prisons towards the inmates, much of these changes were due to the effort of Dorothy Dix and her efforts to investigate the prisons. When prisons first formed, people weren’t exactly sure how they should go
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Eventually the idea that a prison determined to both protect the public as well as reform the convicts became the main purpose of prisons. Although the purpose decided, the execution of this idea was not as decided. Many prisons greatly strayed from the main purpose of the prisons. That is where Dorothea Dix comes into the picture; she believed that prisons should run correctly and not used to make a profit off of the prisoners by forcing them into labor. The unsettling way that prisons were being run outraged many- like Dorothea Dix -that prisons began to reform during the Age of Reform- around 1820-1850 -although the prisons were also reformed after the Age of Reform as well. By the 1840’s people began to accept that the prisons needed reform, but they were still unsure of how they should run. Because of this two systems- also know as plans -were created: The Auburn System and the Pennsylvania System. A major problem in the way the …show more content…
The hospitals inside of the prisons were not any better as far as treatment went. The treatment of the sick was very inhumane. Not only were the doctors themselves, not provided with the correct supplies, but the sick were placed in unsanitary conditions like cells or even basements. Some sick were even killed altogether, instead of being treated. Some prisoners- called “undesirables” -were used as lab rats in experiments during 1880s. Before the Age of Reform, and Dorothea Dix, mentally ill were placed in prisons with other convicts. Because of their differences they were neglected, abused, and even tortured. Thankfully due to Dix’s efforts the mentally ill were removed from the prisons and placed into their own separate state hospitals. Much like the mentally ill, there was a time when women prisoners were forced to endure prison like with both male inmates and male guards. This caused women prisoners to be subject to an ultimate amount of violence and sexual assault, until they were finally removed and put into their own prison with other male

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