History[ edit ] Ancient and medieval[ edit ] The use of prisons can be traced back to the rise of the state as a form of social organization. Corresponding with the advent of the state was the development of written languagewhich enabled the creation of formalized legal codes as official guidelines for society. The best known of these early legal codes is the Code of Hammurabiwritten in Babylon around BC. The penalties for violations of the laws in Hammurabi's Code were almost exclusively centered on the concept of lex talionis "the law of retaliation"whereby people were punished as a form of vengeance, often by the victims themselves.
Entering the gaol in irons, interpreter Dan Moore as a miscreant who could face death for stealing a handkerchief. The scarlet A was for shaming.
Cruel and Unusual Prisons and Prison Reform by Jack lynch In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, "The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue they might originally project, have invariably regarded it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.
Boston felt the need of a "house of detention" when the city consisted of a mere forty homes. But the eighteenth century transformed not only the physical form of those prisons but their function and their place in American consciousness.
Early American prisons were not conceived as houses of punishment. In English and American law, political prisoners and high-ranking prisoners of war were occasionally incarcerated, but few common criminals could expect such treatment.
Almost the only time commoners were locked away was while awaiting trial—once a verdict was delivered, they were punished on the spot or released. This place of confinement, then, was properly speaking not a prison but a jail—often spelled "gaol" or "goal" in the eighteenth century.
The only offense for which long-term imprisonment was common was debt, though this presented a paradox. Wealthy debtors who had money but refused to pay might be persuaded by the prospect of imprisonment to settle their obligations. Locking up the poor, though, guaranteed they could never earn the money they owed, and this struck many as absurd.
The New York legislature said in that "many poor persons may be imprisoned a long time for very small sums of money … to the ruin of their families, great damage to the public who are in Christian charity obliged to provide for them and their families … and without any real benefit to their creditors.
For other offenses there were four broad classes of punishment: Most misdemeanors were punished with fines, as is the case today.
Some more serious crimes were punished with public shame, whether with a demand for a public confession, a term in the stocks, or a mark to identify the malefactor's offense.
Hester Prynne's scarlet A for "adulterer" is the most famous mark of this kind, but, points out Scott Christianson—a journalist specializing in prisons and the death penalty—others were marked with "'B' blasphemer'D' drunk'F' fighter'M' manslaughterer'R' rogueand 'T' thief.
A step up from public shame, then, was physical chastisement—convicts might suffer flogging, branding with a hot iron, or the loss of their ears. The eighteenth century is a fascinating period in the history of capital punishment, for crime was much on eighteenth-century minds.
The rise of trade, the development of early capitalism, and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution transformed the economy, and all of these made crime more prevalent, or at least more obvious to the public.
|Definition: Jail||Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.|
|Definition: Prison||The life of a prisoner was very different from that of today's prisons. The prisoners were treated as animals and considered less of a human because of their lawlessness.|
Fears of pervasive criminality provoked a get-tough-on-crime frenzy, and more and more crimes were designated capital. In England, the legal system became known as "the Bloody Code": The theft of a silk handkerchief or a pocket watch might lead to execution.
The death penalty loomed large in eighteenth-century statutes, but there were ways to escape a sentence to the gallows.
English courts could show mercy by transporting convicts first to North America, then, after independence, to Australia, for sale as servants. Jonathan Boucher, a friend of the Washington family, reported that young George's education came from "a convict servant whom his father had bought for a schoolmaster.
Thomas Jefferson found it risible: It is a right of exemption from capital punishment, for the first offence. Pregnant women convicts might "plead their bellies" and avoid, or at least postpone, execution. Criminals might also hope for pardons from a king or governor.
There were instances of jury nullification—juries ignoring the facts of a case to avoid the necessity of imposing what struck them as unduly harsh punishment. Still the harsh punishments remained on the books, and this led some American theorists to rethink the role of the prison.
In an age of unprecedented social theorizing, many called for a thorough revision of the penal system, and suggested that jails might be useful for something other than holding suspects until trial.
As early as the s, Pennsylvania Quakers were campaigning against the death penalty, urging incarceration as a humane alternative. They may have been thinking back to Tudor England's workhouses.
Starting in the s, persons convicted of leading a "Rogishe or Vagabonds Trade of Lyef" were sent to Bridewell, a former royal palace converted into a workhouse. By the s, similar buildings were constructed around England, and "bridewell" became a common noun for a workhouse.
In the s and '90s, a group of Quakers known as the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons began advocating for something similar in their new nation.
Others took up their cause in what historian Blake McKelvey calls "one of the products of the social and humanitarian revolution that contributed so generously to the founding of the American nation. Reformers approached the question pragmatically, asking whether harsh penalties really deterred crime.
Some said that an indiscriminate system of punishment encouraged criminals to be similarly indiscriminate in their offenses. When the penalty for theft, for example, is the same as the penalty for murder, rational thieves will realize that it makes no sense to leave witnesses to their crimes.
As Samuel Johnson noted in England in the s, "If only murder were punished with death, very few robbers would stain their hands in blood; but when by the last act of cruelty no new danger is incurred and greater security may be obtained, upon what principle shall we bid them forbear?
State after state began reducing the number of death-penalty offenses: In a few years, only murderers were eligible for capital punishment.The Mamertine Prison (Italian: Carcere Mamertino), in antiquity the Tullianum, was a prison (carcer) located in the Comitium in ancient Rome.
It was situated on the northeastern slope of the Capitoline Hill, facing the Curia and the imperial fora of Nerva, Vespasian, and Augustus. Prospective students searching for Prison Warden: Job Description, Duties and Requirements found the links, articles, and information on this page helpful.
Prison Amenities: Past vs. Present essaysMy topic is about prisons today and how they differ from the prisons in the past. My friends and I were discussing this subject and I thought it would be interesting to research a bit. Prisons have become more like country clubs rather than places of punis.
A prison is under the jurisdiction of either federal or state governments, while a jail holds people accused under federal, state, county, and/or city laws.
A jail holds inmates from two days up to one year. Prisons in India, and their administration, is a state subject covered by item 4 under the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
The management and administration of prisons falls exclusively in the domain of the State governments, and is governed by the Prisons Act, and the Prison manuals of the respective.
Difference Between Jails And Prisons. Jackson Jail and Prisons Comparison Paper CJA/ Introduction to Corrections July 5, Julius Burns Abstract This paper will demonstrate the comparison between jails and prisons.A description of jail’s and how corrections played a role will be explained, in addition to the history of jails and prison.