Penitentiary Ideal and Models of American Prisons Essay

707 Words May 2nd, 2012 3 Pages
Penitentiary Ideal and Models of American Prisons
Randi Olds
CJS/ 230

Penitentiaries were built to separate criminals from other criminals once they were incarcerated. The ideas of how a penitentiary should be back in the early 1700’s, was a place to basically separate criminals and keep them from one another. Based on what people thought, a penitentiary was a dark and dingy place. The buildings that held prisoners did not really look like prisons. But since people knew that the buildings held criminals they assumed the worst. Penitentiaries were meant to be a place people were punished for their crimes. They were supposed to be clean and healthy but most of them were dirty and dark.
The principle goal of a penitentiary was to
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Cells were ten feet long and eight feet wide and the ceilings were around fifteen feet high. Each cell had a toilet, table, and a bed. Each cell also had a small patio about the same size of the cell. Prisoners could go outside on that patio anytime because it was enclosed and attached only to their personal cell. Prisoners in this prison were kept from each other. There was no visual or physical contact allowed. They were led outside twice a day for thirty minutes a day with a hood placed over their heads. This was so that they could not see any other prisoner. At that time, Eastern State was considered the closest to the penitentiary ideal. Guards kept close eye on the prisoners also. They wore socks over their shoes so that they were quiet enough to sneak up on the prisoner. They wanted to catch them doing inappropriate things such as making contraband or masturbating. Masturbation was disapproved of so the guards told the prisoners that it could cause blindness, insanity, and tuberculosis.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Eastern State penitentiary was more of a solitary confinement prison. This prison was quieter and controlled better. Prisoners were handled individually at Eastern. Auburn penitentiary did not cost as much as Eastern State penitentiary to build. Also Auburn was led more as a congregate prison. This meant that the prisoners were allowed to interact with each other.
Winner?
Not one penitentiary was really

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