Visions of Prisons in the Future

Essay by kjemyatta41University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2006

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Since the 1700s, man has incorporated prisons with the objective of punishing individuals who had committed crimes against society. Follow us as we journey from past and present prison status, to what possibly might be the future that is prison.

Imprisonment is a relatively new idea for punishing criminals. "Until the late 18th century, prisons were used as debtors' prisons. They imprisoned debtors who could not pay off their creditors, along with the rest of their family" ("Prison Systems History" 2001). Debtors' prisons changed in the 19th century, and thus began the horror of punishment for crimes. "19th century governments imprisoned people who were awaiting trial or punishment whereupon they would receive the more common capital or corporal types of punishment. Common punishments at that time included branding, imposing fines, whipping and the death penalty" ("Prison Systems History" 2001). Revenge often involved physical torture and maiming, as seen in movies depicted from that era.

"The authorities punished most offenders in public in order to discourage people from breaking the law; this falls under the theory of deterrence" ("Stop the Crime" 2002).

"During the 1700s, many people criticized the use of executions, mutilations and other harsh punishments. This was the beginning of the early prison reform" ("Prison Systems History 2001"). As a result, governments turned more and more to imprisonment as a serious form of punishment.

"Reforms in the 1900s have led to further improvement of prisons. A prisoner who receives an indeterminate sentence is confined to prison for a range of years" ("Prison Systems History 2001"). For example, a parole board, based on the inmate's behavior while in prison, determines the actual amount of time served. "By the 1960s, many people felt that criminals could be helped well outside prisons. As a result, many countries began to set up community...