Penitentiary Ideal and Models of American Prisons Daniel J. Bailey CJS/230 March 17, 2013 Ronnie Richardson Penitentiary Ideals and Models of American Prisons Many centuries ago law officials in our country got together to come up with a way to improve on our prison systems.

The finished product after all the bugs were worked out was the penitentiary. The penitentiary was created to be a somewhat stepping stone in the evolution of our prison system and its main purpose was to somehow rehabilitate those that were housed there. Penitentiary ModelWhen the penitentiary was first created its purpose was suppose to be both spiritual and also secular in nature (Foster, B. 2006).

The penitentiary is a place where a criminal did his time for a crime he had committed. The ideal penitentiary should be a safe place for someone serving their time and they should not be subjected to any physical punishment by other prisoners or the staff. While in the care of penitentiary officials an incarcerated person would be exposed to various programs that are aimed at changing their bad behavior so they can become law abiding citizens once they are released.The penitentiary had a main goal when it came to those it housed and it was to rehabilitate. Prisoners were to be kept busy doing productive duties and not sitting around being idle since this lead to them getting into trouble.

Many of the penitentiary founders were very religious men and they believed that the penitentiary was also a place of penitence where a prisoner could think about the wrong they had done and hopefully change for the better (Foster, B. 2006). Prison Models In the 1800’s there were two main prison models in place that all prisons were based off of.The first was a system called The Pennsylvania System.

The second system was called The Auburn System. The two systems were based on two totally different styles of keeping prisoners in check. The Pennsylvania system was based on an isolated or separate concept which placed a prisoner in total solitary confinement for the majority of the day. The only time a prisoner was allowed out of his cell was when he went for exercise in the exercise yard for only thirty minutes twice a day (Foster, B.

2006).While in their cells, all prisoners were required to keep themselves occupied by doing manual trades such as carpentry and shoe making. This system of confinement was popular for prisons that wanted to keep the inmates from corrupting each other by everyday contact. The Auburn system took a different approach when it came to controlling the prison population. Unlike the Pennsylvania system that believed in keeping prisoners separated this system thrived by allowing prisoners to congregate together.

The cells faced inward into a central corridor which made it easier to keep an eye on the prisoners. All prison cells housed only one inmate until the prisons became overcrowded and prison officials were forced to place more inmates in the cells. When the inmates were allowed to leave their cells they had to stay in an orderly line and walk in total silence (Foster, B. 2006). The two systems of prison management had their benefits and drawbacks.

The Pennsylvania system was said to be more orderly and controlled since the prisoners stayed to themselves.It is a lot easier to manage individual prisoners than a whole group in the same area. The Auburn model was more economical and it did not require as many guards to keep track of prisoners in individual cells (Foster, B. 2006). Also, the Auburn model used a group of inmates to do the work that was needed instead of each prisoner being locked in cells doing less work. The model of prison management that ended up being the more popular method was the Auburn system since many believed that the Pennsylvania model drove inmates crazy.

The well known prison system that used the Auburn system was Sing Sing prison. According to (Foster, B. 2006) Sing Sing was a five tier high building that held 1,000 one-man cells which barely allowed room for a bed. Prisons of today utilize methods of both systems to contain and monitor prisoners.

The prisons have gotten bigger and more crowded so running like clock- work is more crucial than ever before. References Foster, B. (2006). Corrections: The fundamentals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.