Criminal Justice

As humanity developed, the need to separate persons who had done acts frowned upon by the society from others was introduced.  In America the use of prisons to separate law breakers with law keepers was introduced towards the end of the 18th century with the first correction facility being the Walnut Street jail in Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania system is designed around total isolation (Bohm  Haley, 2008).  It does not allow for interaction at any time.  Inmates are housed in separate cells, eat separately, exercise separately and work separately.  The creators of this system wanted inmates to use the time in prison to meditate upon their crime, repent and reform.

The Auburn system on its part was designed with prisoner interaction in mind.  It retains the Pennsylvanias model of housing prisoners individually but it allows for interaction during meals, exercise and work.  Unlike the Pennsylvania model which as a result of the total isolation of prisoners the only productive work they usually do is handicraft, the Auburn system by allowing interaction ensured more productive work could be accomplished.  This ensured the prison facilities could generate revenue that is used in running the facilities.

Accordingly, the Pennsylvania system is less effective than the Auburn system to begin with, the Auburn system was designed as an improvement of the Pennsylvania system  both had strong Quaker influence (Bohm,  Haley, 2008).  By offering prisoners the opportunity to interact, they therefore have an opportunity to learn from each other.  Given that that the main goal of a prison is to rehabilitate, it is possible to find people who have been inspired to change by the friends they met while in prison. The income generated as a result of having the prisoners working together in teams goes along way in making the prisoners life comfortable while in prison mainly because it is revenue. 

It may be argued that through prisoner interaction previously soft criminals may be transformed to hardcore criminals in prisoner, but it is clear that in as much as this risk is very much real, the gains from interactions outweigh the inherent risks.   It is evident therefore that that the Pennsylvania system is not only much more effective but also superior in its approach to incarceration of prisoners.


Post a Comment