1985 - TO PRESENT The "Just Deserts Era"
The "just deserts" doctrine goes back to the basics. Prisoners are held responsible for their actions. There is no attempt to explain away their criminality. If a person commits a crime, they will pay. This plain and simple approach emerged due an increase recidivism rate of 70%.
1980 - The Warehousing Model
After many studies showed that efforts to rehabilitate criminals were failing miserably, it was evident that a new approach should be used. This led to the "nothing works" doctrine. The new approach would be to simply put criminals away so they would no longer be a menace to society. This is when the term "warehousing" began to surface. Prisoners were put away for determined periods of time without the earlier frills of treatment and "coddling".
1967 - The Community Based Era ("Deinstitutionalization")
A more humanistic approach was envisioned. The community base approach would help the inmate and it would help solve the problem of overcrowding prisons. Inmates took part in halfway houses and job release programs. Some were even allowed weekend furloughs to visit family and loved ones.
1945 - The Treatment Era
The nation was economically secure. During this postwar boom, there was an interest to reform prisons. After conducting research, it was determined that a "medical model" should be used in the prison system. Prisoners were considered ill and the cure would be rehabilitation through treatment.
1935 - Ashburn Summers Act
This law put limits on prison manufacturing. The interstate transportation of goods made in prisons was prohibited. This resulted in a decrease of industrial prisons.
1899 - Juvenile Court
A special court for under age offenders was established. This type of court was informal and the goal was for young offenders to be rehabilitated. Vocational and academic programs were encouraged. Judges were expected to avoid custody if possible.
1890 - The Industrial Prison
In an effort to meet the demands of the increasing prison population, the industrial prisons emerged. These prisons had heightened security via high brick walls and guard towers. Prisoners worked with steel, made cabinets and other goods to be sold on the market.
1878 – Present Probation (John Augustus)
John Augustus was a humble shoemaker who advocated for fair treatment of criminals. He would house offenders who were sentenced to prison. After helping them get back on their feet, he would go to court with them. If their probationary program was satisfactory, the original sentence was suspended. The actual legal statute for probation was passed first by in 1878 and still exists today.
1876 - Reformatory (Elmira System)
This was a prison system designed to house young men. It was believed that younger prisoners were capable of rehabilitation. An academic program was put in place and athletics was encouraged. The silent system was not used. A rewards system was used. Corporal punishment was used to control behavior.
1873 - The Indiana State Reformatory (First Separate Prison for Women)
First separate female prison. Before instituting the first female prison, women were housed with men. They also received the same punishment as men, for that reason, both inmates and prison guards preyed upon women. In the early female prisons, women were often housed in cottages. The conditions for women in state prisons remained the same. They were subject to abuse and often required to endure long hours of hard labor.
1825 - Auburn and Sing Sing Penitentiary (Mass Prisons)
A rule of silence was enforced to keep the prisoners from corrupting one another. Strict control and severed discipline was common. Whipping was common.
1822 - Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary was built in Philadelphia where prisoners were in solitary confinement ” model-isolate system”, solitary confinement and penance with an understanding that it would lead to rehabilitation of prisoners.
1813 - Elizabeth Gurney Fry
Fry worked to improve conditions for women who were imprisoned.
1800- TO PRESENT
Parole began at the end of the 1800s; many prisoners were received clemency, pardons and early release for good behavior. Parole began with reformatories but spread to all prisons.
1790 - Inspection House (Panopticon)
Jerry Bentham conducted a movement suggesting that laws should be evaluated to ensure that they are ethical and useful. In this era a model prison was designed which was referred to as the "Panopticon".
1704 - The Hospice of San Michele (Rome), Maison de Force (Ghent, Belgium)
Two famous prisons were built.
- The Hospice of San Michele and
- The Maison de Force in Ghent, Belgium. Inmates were whipped and had to adhere to the rule of silence. These prisons were considered to be ideal models of the prison institution at the time.
1700 - Early Punishments
Early punishments included economic sanctions, public humiliation, pillory, stocks and ducking stools.