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Treatment and punishment in 1920s 1950s in corrections

Take a tour around your new prison, visiting all of the places on the list above. Add one sentence of your own comment, as governor, on each There is a logical purpose behind many aspects of the design of this prison. Explain the design or placing of: How many cells can you see from your position?

Look at Source 2a and 2b. The work on the treadwheel was to hold on to a bar and walk up the wheel.

Prison reform

You did ten minutes on and five off, for eight hours, climbing the equivalent of over 8,000 feet in the process. The prisoner in source 2b is doing hard labour in his cell. He would have to turn the crank in his cell a set number of times to earn his food.

  1. Progressive reform resulted in the "Big House" by the late twenties — prisons averaging 2,500 men with professional management designed to eliminate the abusive forms of corporal punishment and prison labor prevailing at the time. Younger criminals who have committed fewer and less severe crimes are most likely to be successfully reformed.
  2. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.
  3. The prisoners took guards hostage in many cases and destroyed prison property.
  4. The Prison Reform Movement Prison reform has had a long history in the United States , beginning with the construction of the nation's first prisons. This was paid by the public treasury and the pattern spread in eighteenth-century Germany.
  5. Although many people support three-strikes laws, others have lobbied to modify or overturn such laws.

Unlike the treadmill, which was used to power machinery in the prison, the crank simply turned paddles in a box of sand. You were not allowed to talk during these jobs. This was strictly enforced; the punishment book at Coldbath Fields records 11,624 offences against this rule in one year. Use Source 1 to explain what machinery the treadwheel might have been used to drive Which of these two jobs do you think was the most exhausting?

Which was the most boring? What was the purpose of making convicts do these jobs? These photographs show how hard labour was enforced at two different prisons.

Why do you think they did not all use the same method? Do you think this kind of prison life would make people change their ways when they came out? Look at Source 3. This is the prison record for Mary McDonald who was convicted of theft in 1873.

Look at the items that Mary has been accused of stealing.

9: The Prison Reform Movement

How do you think she got these items? Why do you think she would have stolen and pawned them? In Victorian times, criminals were usually punished with hard labour, transportation to a penal colony or execution.

Look at Source 4. This is an extract from the discipline records for convicts shipped to Hobart in Van Diemens Land now Tasmania. Read through the list. What kind of offences have the people been disciplined for? Look for the record of Frederick Edwards. Can you find how long he was sentenced for transportation? She has more than one sentencing term. Why do you think this is?

Do you think the people on this list are adults, children or a mixture or both? Do you think these punishments were fair or unfair? People who were transported were usually sentenced for a fixed time, such as seven years. Do you think they were allowed to go back to Britain after this time had passed? Source 4 Background Prisons at this time were often in old buildings, such as castles.

They tended to be damp, unhealthy, insanitary and over-crowded. All kinds of prisoners were mixed in together, as at Coldbath Fields: Each prison was run by the gaoler in treatment and punishment in 1920s 1950s in corrections own way.

He made up the rules. If you could pay, you could buy extra privileges, such as private rooms, better food, more visitors, keeping pets, letters going in and out, and books to read. If you could not, the basic fare was grim. You even had to pay the gaoler to be let out when your sentence was finished. Law and order was a major issue in Victorian Britain. Victorians were worried about the huge new cities that had grown up following the Industrial Revolution — how were the masses to be kept under control?

They were worried about rising crime. The answer was to reform the police and to build more prisons. Between 1842 and 1877, 90 prisons were built or added to.

It was a massive building programme, costing millions of pounds. You can see the big extension to Coldbath Fields prison in Source 1. Many Victorian prisons are still in use today. People wanted to reform prison for different reasons.

Rational reformers believed that the purpose of prison was to punish and reform, not to kill prisoners with disease or teach them how to be better criminals.

  1. These were never built due to disagreements in the committee and pressures from wars with France and jails remained a local responsibility.
  2. They fired their weapons into the crowds of convicts, ending the uprising but killing dozens of prisoners and several hostages in the process. In this way, the costs of running the prison are offset, and the prisoners earn some money to help them start over after they get out of prison.
  3. You can see the big extension to Coldbath Fields prison in Source 1. At night, they returned to their solitary cells.

There was more to Victorian plans than just bigger and better buildings. This was based on the belief that convicted criminals had to face up to themselves. Accordingly, they were kept on their own in their cells most of the time. Not surprisingly, many went mad under this system.

  • The straw spread over the floor served as both their bedding and their toilet;
  • Administrators offered prisoners health care, education, and the opportunity for religious worship;
  • Many of the inmates at such institutions are allowed to leave the grounds for work, and some participate in programs that allow them to leave the prison temporarily to ease the transition from imprisonment to release;
  • Look at the items that Mary has been accused of stealing;
  • The main principles were separation and hard labour for serious crimes, using treadwheels and cranks;
  • Their report sparked a renewed interest in prison reform, particularly in improving prison administration.

By the 1860s opinion had changed, believing that many criminals were habitual criminals and nothing would change them. They just had to be scared enough by prison never to offend again. Teachers' notes This lesson could form part of a study of crime and punishment through time. Victorian prison policy is an important topic in this story. Alternatively, the lesson could be seen as an aspect of Victorian Britain, showing as it does, the prevailing attitudes to crime and human nature.

Further, the clarity and detail of the prison plan, the accompanying detailed pictures of that very prison in action, make it a good starting-point for discussion of issues of crime policy today. The arguments of punishment versus rehabilitation and retribution versus a new start are well-illustrated in these documents.