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Historical view of Prisons Essay

A major and prominent development occurred between the late eighteen and the early twentieth century. This development was the use of prison as a mean of punishment.
It was at this time which saw the emergence of the idea of the prison as an institution offirst option within which the criminal would be reformed.
Also during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, saw the development of a range of alternative institutions and sentencing practices, with prison more as a last resort.
However, the purpose of imprisonment was to become a major ongoing debate between those advocating its punitive aspects and those its reformatory potential.
In this presentation I am going to look at how convincing the view that prisons developed to discipline the working class as opposed to punish offenders.
William Eden in 1771 published the influential'Principles of Penal Law'.
In this publication he doubted the value of prison sentences; it was his belief that confinement often made offenders worse.
With this principle, Eden, began helping to draft new penitentiary legislation which had the intent of putting offenders into regulated, orderly prisons.
The Penitentiary Act was passed in Parliament in 1779.
This act was drafted by Eden and also Blackstone and Howard and provided for the construction of two penitentiaries in the Metropolis, one for 600 men, the other for 300 women.
Offenders held at these premises could be imprisoned for up to two years and would hold offenders otherwise liable for transportation.
They were to be uniformed, kept to hard labour in association with each other during the day. At night they were to be shut in solitary confinement.
Section 5 of the act stressed the reforming intentions of the penitentiaries: Inmates were to be accustomed'to habits of industry'.
The legislators were determined to make confinement adequately hard, rigorous and unpleasant. The …

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