150,000+ ESSAYS

Find more results for this search now!

Need a Brand New Custom Essay Now?  click here

Introduction To Prison Design - Why do we have prisons?

1.1 Introduction

The basic reason for the existence of prisons is that society, which expresses its wishes through the means of courts, finds it necessary to separate and isolate some people, who have broken the law. The concept of this segregation is as old as society itself. Conventionally, prisons have been used for punitive purposes only and it is only recently that public opinion has come round to accept the notion of using imprisonment to reform and rehabilitate the inmates.

The word "prison" immediately evokes a stream of images: stark, forbidding walls spiked with watchtowers; inmates banging on the bars of their cells; the suspicious eyes of armed, uniformed guards. It seems to be the natural end for a convicted criminal, a permanent institution stretching from the pits of the medieval dungeon to the current era of motion detectors and surveillance cameras. But centuries of development and debate lie behind the prison as we now know it - a rich history that reveals how our ideas of crime and punishment have changed over time. Penalties other than incarceration were once much more common, from such bizarre death sentences as the Roman culleus (sealing a convict in a sack with an ape, a dog, and a snake, and throwing the lot in the sea) to fines, various corporal punishments, and forms of public ridicule1. The nineteenth century saw the rise of the full-blown prison system - and along with it came the idea of prison reform.

There has always been a constant tension between the desire to punish and the hope for rehabilitation, and the prisons have evolved from the rowdy, squalid English jails of the 1700s, in which prisoners and visitors intermingled, to the sober and stark nineteenth-century penitentiaries, whose inmates were forbidden to speak or even to see one another, and finally to the "big houses" of the current American prison system, in which prisoners are as overwhelmed by intense boredom as by the threat of violence.

On looking back in history, certain evolutionary tendencies are noticed in the pattern of modifications. There has been subdivision of the institution into a series of functionally organized sub-units, each with a certain degree of autonomy. This may have been done to facilitate tighter security. But it was also to provide spaces in which to try techniques of treatment based on human interaction. The external similarity of prisons with other buildings has also been increasing. This...

Sign In Now to Read Entire Essay

Not a Member?   Create Your FREE Account »

Comments / Reviews

read full essay >>

Already a Member?   Login Now >

This essay and THOUSANDS of
other essays are FREE at eCheat.

Uploaded by:  


Category:   Other Topics

Length:   11 pages (2,495 words)

Views:   13256

Report this Essay Save Essay
Professionally written essays on this topic:

Introduction To Prison Design - Why do we have prisons?

  • Overcrowding in German Prisons

    one third during this period ("Where is"). While this increase differed in severity between German states, all states experienced ...

  • The Problem of Sexual Predators

    these miscreants. However, it is often the case that the punishment is not enough. Sexual predators-until more credible research i...

  • Integrating Information about Violence in Prisons

    2009). During this incident, 32 inmates and 11 guards were killed. In 1980 there was a riot in a prison in New Mexico that took ...

  • Criminal Justice V

    offender and his history at the time of his arrest. Protection of society. This goal of sentencing is to remove the offend...

  • The Importance of Prison Reform

    Indeed, the law is not perfect, which is why the average citizen should care about the prison system. Even if they do not break th...

  • HIV in the California Prison System

    economic and historical issues surrounding the problem of HIV in prison. Perhaps one place to start is to look at the overall pro...

  • Prison Violence

    home (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2001). Those who live in poverty have always been the victims of the most violenc...

  • Overcrowding of Prisons

    Building the new prison was supposed "expunge a stigma" from the state, and "Maine officials expected the savings in operating exp...

  • Challenges for the Criminal Justice Administrator

    executive officer (CEO) of a small corporation (Dennis, 1999). For example, a "typical medium security prison houses 1,300 inmates...

  • Prison Overcrowding

    There appear to be many attempts to alleviate the problems of overcrowding, each implemented by individual states and communities,...

View more professionally written essays on this topic »