Prison history from 1800 until 2000

Their perceived opponents may be imprisoned for political crimes , often without trial or other legal due process ; this use is illegal under most forms of international law governing fair administration of justice.

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In times of war, prisoners of war or detainees may be detained in military prisons or prisoner of war camps , and large groups of civilians might be imprisoned in internment camps. In American English , the terms prison and jail have separate definitions, though this is not always followed in casual speech. A jail holds people for shorter periods of time e. Outside of North America, prison and jail have the same meaning. Common slang terms for a prison include: "the pokey", "the slammer", "the can", "the clink", "the joint", "the calaboose", "the hoosegow" and "the big house".

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Slang terms for imprisonment include: "behind bars", "in stir" and "up the river" a possible reference to Sing Sing. The use of prisons can be traced back to the rise of the state as a form of social organization. Corresponding with the advent of the state was the development of written language , which enabled the creation of formalized legal codes as official guidelines for society.

The best known of these early legal codes is the Code of Hammurabi , written in Babylon around BC. The penalties for violations of the laws in Hammurabi's Code were almost exclusively centered on the concept of lex talionis "the law of retaliation" , whereby people were punished as a form of vengeance, often by the victims themselves.

This notion of punishment as vengeance or retaliation can also be found in many other legal codes from early civilizations, including the ancient Sumerian codes, the Indian Manusmriti Manava Dharma Sastra , the Hermes Trismegistus of Egypt, and the Israelite Mosaic Law. Some Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato , began to develop ideas of using punishment to reform offenders instead of simply using it as retribution. Imprisonment as a penalty was used initially for those who could not afford to pay their fines.

Eventually, since impoverished Athenians could not pay their fines, leading to indefinite periods of imprisonment, time limits were set instead. The Romans were among the first to use prisons as a form of punishment, rather than simply for detention. A variety of existing structures were used to house prisoners, such as metal cages, basements of public buildings, and quarries.

One of the most notable Roman prisons was the Mamertine Prison , established around B. The Mamertine Prison was located within a sewer system beneath ancient Rome and contained a large network of dungeons where prisoners were held in squalid conditions, [8] contaminated with human waste. Forced labor on public works projects was also a common form of punishment. In many cases, citizens were sentenced to slavery , often in ergastula a primitive form of prison where unruly slaves were chained to workbenches and performed hard labor. During the Middle Ages in Europe, castles, fortresses, and the basements of public buildings were often used as makeshift prisons.

The possession of the right and the capability to imprison citizens, however, granted an air of legitimacy to officials at all levels of government, from kings to regional courts to city councils ; and the ability to have someone imprisoned or killed served as a signifier of who in society possessed power or authority over others. The influence of French philosopher Michel Foucault ; especially his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison has energized the historical study of prisons and their role in the overall social system.

Foucault argues that prison did not become the principal form of punishment just because of the humanitarian concerns of reformists.

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He traces the cultural shifts that led to the predominance of prison via the body and power. Prison used by the "disciplines" — new technological powers that can also be found, according to Foucault, in places such as schools, hospitals, and military barracks. From the late 17th century and during the 18th century, popular resistance to public execution and torture became more widespread both in Europe and in the United States.

Particularly under the Bloody Code , with few sentencing alternatives, imposition of the death penalty for petty crimes, such as theft, was proving increasingly unpopular with the public; many jurors were refusing to convict defendants of petty crimes when they knew the defendants would be sentenced to death. Rulers began looking for means to punish and control their subjects in a way that did not cause people to associate them with spectacles of tyrannical and sadistic violence.

They developed systems of mass incarceration , often with hard labor, as a solution. The first was based in Enlightenment ideas of utilitarianism and rationalism , and suggested that prisons should simply be used as a more effective substitute for public corporal punishments such as whipping, hanging, etc. This theory, referred to as deterrence , claims that the primary purpose of prisons is to be so harsh and terrifying that they deter people from committing crimes out of fear of going to prison.

The second theory, which saw prisons as a form of rehabilitation or moral reform , was based on religious ideas that equated crime with sin, and saw prisons as a place to instruct prisoners in Christian morality, obedience and proper behavior. These later reformers believed that prisons could be constructed as humane institutions of moral instruction, and that prisoners' behavior could be "corrected" so that when they were released, they would be model members of society.

The concept of the modern prison was invented in the early 19th-century. Punishment usually consisted of physical forms of punishment, including capital punishment, mutilation , flagellation whipping , branding , and non-physical punishments, such as public shaming rituals like the stocks. However, an important innovation at the time was the Bridewell House of Corrections, located at Bridewell Palace in London, which resulted in the building of other houses of correction. These houses held mostly petty offenders, vagrants, and the disorderly local poor.

In these facilities the inmates were given " prison labour " jobs that were anticipated to shape them into hardworking individuals and prepare them for the real world.

Georgia’s prisoners

By the end of the 17th century, houses of correction were absorbed into local prison facilities under the control of the local justice of the peace. England used penal transportation of convicted criminals and others generally young and poor for a term of indentured servitude within the general population of British America between the s and The Transportation Act made this option available for lesser crimes, or offered it by discretion as a longer-term alternative to the death penalty, which could theoretically be imposed for the growing number of offenses.

The substantial expansion of transportation was the first major innovation in eighteenth-century British penal practice. While sentencing to transportation continued, the act instituted a punishment policy of hard labour instead. The suspension of transport also prompted the use of prisons for punishment and the initial start of a prison building program.

Gaols at the time were run as business ventures, and contained both felons and debtors; the latter were often housed with their wives and younger children. The gaolers made their money by charging the inmates for food, drink, and other services, and the system was generally corruptible. It was the first facility to make any medical services available to prisoners.

With the widely used alternative of penal transportation halted in the s, the immediate need for additional penal accommodations emerged. Given the undeveloped institutional facilities, old sailing vessels , termed hulks , were the most readily available and expandable choice to be used as places of temporary confinement. The turn of the 19th century would see the first movement toward Prison reform , and by the s, the first state prisons and correctional facilities were built, thereby inaugurating the modern prison facilities available today.

France also sent criminals to overseas penal colonies, including Louisiana , in the early 18th century. Katorga prisons were harsh work camps established in the 17th century in Russia , in remote underpopulated areas of Siberia and the Russian Far East , that had few towns or food sources. Siberia quickly gained its fearful connotation of punishment. John Howard was one of the most notable early prison reformers. He proposed wide-ranging reforms to the system, including the housing of each prisoner in a separate cell; the requirements that staff should be professional and paid by the government, that outside inspection of prisons should be imposed, and that prisoners should be provided with a healthy diet and reasonable living conditions.

The prison reform charity, the Howard League for Penal Reform , was established in by his admirers. Following Howard's agitation, the Penitentiary Act was passed in This introduced solitary confinement, religious instruction, a labor regime, and proposed two state penitentiaries one for men and one for women. However, these were never built due to disagreements in the committee and pressures from wars with France , and gaols remained a local responsibility.

But other measures passed in the next few years provided magistrates with the powers to implement many of these reforms, and eventually, in , gaol fees were abolished. Quakers were prominent in campaigning against and publicizing the dire state of the prisons at the time. Elizabeth Fry documented the conditions that prevailed at Newgate prison , where the ladies' section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial.

The inmates did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept on straw. In , Fry was able to found a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She also began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the Bible. The theory of the modern prison system was born in London, influenced by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham. Bentham's panopticon introduced the principle of observation and control that underpins the design of the modern prison.

The notion of prisoners being incarcerated as part of their punishment and not simply as a holding state until trial or hanging, was at the time revolutionary. His views influenced the establishment of the first prisons used as criminal rehabilitation centers. At a time when the implementation of capital punishment for a variety of relatively trivial offences was on the decline, the notion of incarceration as a form of punishment and correction held great appeal to reform-minded thinkers and politicians. In the first half of the 19th century, capital punishment came to be regarded as inappropriate for many crimes that it had previously been carried out for, and by the midth century, imprisonment had replaced the death penalty for the most serious offenses except for murder.

The first state prison in England was the Millbank Prison , established in with a capacity for just under inmates. By , 54 prisons had adopted the disciplinary system advocated by the SIPD. Pentonville prison opened in , beginning a trend of ever increasing incarceration rates and the use of prison as the primary form of crime punishment. In , the state of Pennsylvania passed a law which mandated that all convicts who had not been sentenced to death would be placed in penal servitude to do public works projects such as building roads , forts , and mines.

Besides the economic benefits of providing a free source of hard labor, the proponents of the new penal code also thought that this would deter criminal activity by making a conspicuous public example of consequences of breaking the law. However, what actually ended up happening was frequent spectacles of disorderly conduct by the convict work crews, and the generation of sympathetic feelings from the citizens who witnessed the mistreatment of the convicts. The laws quickly drew criticism from a humanitarian perspective as cruel, exploitative and degrading and from a utilitarian perspective as failing to deter crime and delegitimizing the state in the eyes of the public.

Reformers such as Benjamin Rush came up with a solution that would enable the continued used of forced labor, while keeping disorderly conduct and abuse out of the eyes of the public. They suggested that prisoners be sent to secluded "houses of repentance" where they would be subjected out of the view of the public to "bodily pain, labour, watchfulness, solitude, and silence Pennsylvania soon put this theory into practice, and turned its old jail at Walnut Street in Philadelphia into a state prison, in This prison was modeled on what became known as the "Pennsylvania system" or "separate system" , and placed all prisoners into solitary cells with nothing other than religious literature, and forced them to be completely silent to reflect on their wrongs.

But by faith in the efficacy of legal reform had declined as statutory changes had no discernible effect on the level of crime, and the prisons, where prisoners shared large rooms and booty including alcohol, had become riotous and prone to escapes. The aim of this was rehabilitative : the reformers talked about the penitentiary serving as a model for the family and the school and almost all the states adopted the plan though Pennsylvania went even further in separating prisoners.

The system's fame spread and visitors to the U. The use of prisons in Continental Europe was never as popular as it became in the English-speaking world , although state prison systems were largely in place by the end of the 19th century in most European countries. After the unification of Italy in , the government reformed the repressive and arbitrary prison system they inherited, and modernized and secularized criminal punishment by emphasizing discipline and deterrence. Another prominent prison reformer who made important contributions was Alexander Paterson [40] who advocated for the necessity of humanising and socialising methods within the prison system in Great Britain and America.

Prisons are normally surrounded by fencing, walls, earthworks, geographical features, or other barriers to prevent escape.

Colonial history of Bloemfontein | South African History Online

Multiple barriers, concertina wire , electrified fencing , secured and defensible main gates, armed guard towers , security lighting, motion sensors , dogs and roving patrols may all also be present depending on the level of security. Remotely controlled doors, CCTV monitoring, alarms, cages, restraints , nonlethal and lethal weapons, riot-control gear and physical segregation of units and prisoners may all also be present within a prison to monitor and control the movement and activity of prisoners within the facility.

Modern prison designs have increasingly sought to restrict and control the movement of prisoners throughout the facility and also to allow a smaller prison staff to monitor prisoners directly; often using a decentralized "podular" layout. Smaller, separate and self-contained housing units known as "pods" or "modules" are designed to hold 16 to 50 prisoners and are arranged around exercise yards or support facilities in a decentralized "campus" pattern.

A small number of prison officers, sometimes a single officer, supervise each pod. The pods contain tiers of cells arranged around a central control station or desk from which a single officer can monitor all the cells and the entire pod, control cell doors and communicate with the rest of the prison. Pods may be designed for high-security "indirect supervision", in which officers in segregated and sealed control booths monitor smaller numbers of prisoners confined to their cells.

An alternative is "direct supervision", in which officers work within the pod and directly interact with and supervise prisoners, who may spend the day outside their cells in a central "dayroom" on the floor of the pod. Movement in or out of the pod to and from exercise yards, work assignments or medical appointments can be restricted to individual pods at designated times and is generally centrally controlled.

Goods and services, such as meals, laundry, commissary , educational materials, religious services and medical care can increasingly be brought to individual pods or cells as well. Generally, when an inmate arrives at a prison, they go through a security classification screening and risk assessment that determines where they will be placed within the prison system. Classifications are assigned by assessing the prisoner's personal history and criminal record, and through subjective determinations made by intake personnel which include mental health workers, counselors, prison unit managers, and others.

This process will have a major impact on the prisoner's experience, determining their security level, educational and work programs, mental health status e. This sorting of prisoners is one of the fundamental techniques through which the prison administration maintains control over the inmate population. Along with this it creates an orderly and secure prison environment. The levels of security within a prison system are categorized differently around the world, but tend to follow a distinct pattern. At one end of the spectrum are the most secure facilities "maximum security" , which typically hold prisoners that are considered dangerous, disruptive or likely to try to escape.

Furthermore, in recent times, supermax prisons have been created where the custody level goes beyond maximum security for people such as terrorists or political prisoners deemed a threat to national security , and inmates from other prisons who have a history of violent or other disruptive behavior in prison or are suspected of gang affiliation. These inmates have individual cells and are kept in lockdown , often for more than 23 hours per day. Meals are served through "chuck-holes" in the cell door, and each inmate is allotted one hour of outdoor exercise per day, alone.

They are normally permitted no contact with other inmates and are under constant surveillance via closed-circuit television cameras. On the other end are "minimum security" prisons which are most often used to house those for whom more stringent security is deemed unnecessary.

For example, while white-collar crime rarely results in incarceration—when it does, offenders are almost always sent to minimum-security prisons due to them having committed nonviolent crimes. Some countries such as Britain also have "open" prisons where prisoners are allowed home-leave or part-time employment outside of the prison.

Suomenlinna Island facility in Finland is an example of one such "open" correctional facility.

The prison has been open since and, as of September , the facility's 95 male prisoners leave the prison grounds on a daily basis to work in the corresponding township or commute to the mainland for either work or study. Prisoners can rent flat-screen televisions, sound systems, and mini-refrigerators with the prison-labor wages that they can earn—wages range between 4. With electronic monitoring, prisoners are also allowed to visit their families in Helsinki and eat together with the prison staff.

Prisoners in Scandinavian facilities are permitted to wear their own clothes. Modern prisons often hold hundreds or thousands of inmates, and must have facilities onsite to meet most of their needs, including dietary, health, fitness, education, religious practices, entertainment, and many others.

Nevertheless, in addition to the cell blocks that contain the prisoners, also there are certain auxiliary facilities that are common in prisons throughout the world. Prisons generally have to provide food for a large number of individuals, and thus are generally equipped with a large institutional kitchen. There are many security considerations, however, that are unique to the prison dining environment.

For instance, cutlery equipment must be very carefully monitored and accounted for at all times, and the layout of prison kitchens must be designed in a way that allows staff to observe activity of the kitchen staff who are usually prisoners. The quality of kitchen equipment varies from prison to prison, depending on when the prison was constructed, and the level of funding available to procure new equipment. Prisoners are often served food in a large cafeteria with rows of tables and benches that are securely attached to the floor. However, inmates that are locked in control units, or prisons that are on "lockdown" where prisoners are made to remain in their cells all day have trays of food brought to their cells and served through "chuck-holes" in the cell door.

Prisons in wealthy, industrialized nations provide medical care for most of their inmates.

Additionally, prison medical staff play a major role in monitoring, organizing, and controlling the prison population through the use of psychiatric evaluations and interventions psychiatric drugs, isolation in mental health units, etc. Prison populations are largely from poor minority communities that experience greater rates of chronic illness, substance abuse, and mental illness than the general population. This leads to a high demand for medical services, and in countries such as the US that don't provide tax-payer funded healthcare, prison is often the first place that people are able to receive medical treatment which they couldn't afford outside.

Prison medical facilities include primary care , mental health services, dental care , substance abuse treatment, and other forms of specialized care, depending on the needs of the inmate population. Health care services in many prisons have long been criticized as inadequate, underfunded, and understaffed, and many prisoners have experienced abuse and mistreatment at the hands of prison medical staff who are entrusted with their care. In the United States, a million people who are incarcerated suffer from mental illness without any assistance or treatment for their condition and the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend, known as the rate of recidivism, is unusually high for those with the most serious disorders.

Some prisons provide educational programs for inmates that can include basic literacy, secondary education, or even college education. Prisoners seek education for a variety of reasons, including the development of skills for after release, personal enrichment and curiosity, finding something to fill their time, or trying to please prison staff which can often secure early release for good behavior.

However, the educational needs of prisoners often come into conflict with the security concerns of prison staff and with a public that wants to be "tough on crime" and thus supports denying prisoners access to education. Whatever their reasons for participating in educational programs, prison populations tend to have very low literacy rates and lack of basic mathematical skills, and many have not completed secondary education.

This lack of basic education severely limits their employment opportunities outside of prison, leading to high rates of recidivism, and research has shown that prison education can play a significant role in helping prisoners reorient their lives and become successful after reentry. In , the First Raadsaal was built in St George's Street, initially as a school and hall, but it was also used as a church and meeting place.

In , the first NG congregation was formed and in May they moved into their new church, built at the top end of Kerk Street. The Roman Catholic, Anglican and Wesleyan churches also formed congregations at this time in Bloemfontein and they held their services at the First Raadsaal. The Wesleyan priest who arrived in Bloemfontein in held service in a hut, mainly for the Black and Coloured population. Several businesses were then established and the town grew larger. In June the first municipal commissioner was appointed, although Bloemfontein did not have full municipal status at the time.

The Commissioner could now have greater control over the affairs of the town and officials, such as the Town Clerk, market-master, and water fiscal. Postal services at this stage were relatively primitive. The first postal route between Bloemfontein and Colesberg was established soon after the settlement was started in by Major Warden. Other routes followed very soon after.

A new Post Office was built on the same site when this building became too small, and was opened on 22 June All supplies came by transport riders with ox drawn wagons from the harbours of Port Elizabeth and East London which made the delivery of things like building material, clothes, household goods and furniture difficult to obtain. Therefore, living in Bloemfontein was quite expensive. During this period relations between the different groups were still strained and British authority in the region did not have the desired effect.

During the s, Bloemfontein remained a small town, relatively isolated from the rest of South Africa. The borders of the town grew until Church Street in the north and to Market Street today Markgraaf Street in the west. By , the population was about people with about 60 houses. In , Chief Mzilikazi established himself on ThabaBosiu and began building a strong nation from people previously scattered in the area. In , the Barolong under the chieftaincy of Moroka II established themselves at what was later known as Thaba Nchu.

Around , White stock farmers crossed the Orange River in search of grazing land, after drought and locust infestations ravaged the Cape Colony. Sometime between and , trek Boer farmer Johan Nicolaas Brits settled in the Transoranje area. The area was convenient as it had a small stream and a fountain provided him with a good water supply.

Apparently the place Brits chose was originally a meeting place for hunters, and the Black people called it Mangaung place of the cheetahs , but it became known as Bloemfontein in later years. There is some controversy surrounding the name, but one theory is that when Brits settled here, the fountain was surrounded by flowers and thus the Brits family named it Bloemfontein, literally meaning 'fountain of flowers'.

Another theory is that the name was put forward by one of Brits' neighbours, a Mr. Griesel, who referenced it to Mrs. Brits' garden. Johan Nicolaas Brits built a pioneer's home close to the fountain. Because these Boers were from the Cape Colony, they were still considered British subjects. Over a period of time, conflict grew between the different population groups in the Transoranje area, resulting in British intervention.

Therefore, in , Major Henry Douglas Warden was appointed to set up a British residency in the area. Warden was tasked with the difficult job of maintaining peace between the different population groups and to set up an administration. His immediate orders were to set up a residency as soon as possible in a centrally situated place, between the areas occupied by Adam Kok and Mosheshwe.

Warden accidentally came across the fountain area between the Riet and Modder rivers. From a military point of view, Warden found the area suitable because it was situated in a small valley surrounded by hills on all sides and was free of horse sickness. The centrality of the site would also make it easy for transport riders to bring necessary commodities to the settlement. Warden's troops, known as the Cape Riflemen, arrived in Bloemfontein on 26 March and Warden followed shortly after.

At the time the farm consisted of a small mud house with a garden in the front and an orchard which was watered through a furrow. One division of Warden's soldiers began building a fort to the north of the fountain which was named Fort Drury, after Sergeant Drury who served the dual function of garrison's doctor and teacher to the children of the soldiers. The second division began building the official residency at the top end of the present St George Street. While this was being done, Warden moved temporarily into the Brits' house. The third division of the regiment concentrated on building clay huts for the soldiers and stables for the horses, which was the beginning of the settlement.

However, relations between the different groups in the area were still strained, with the biggest problem being land. This led to the Battle of Boomplaats between the British and Boers who were unhappy with the annexation, which resulted in the British increasing their garrison to men to defend the Bloemfontein area. In addition, a more strategically situated fort called Queen's Fort, was built to replace Fort Drury.

Fort Queen was situated at the top end of what was later known as Monument Road. At the foot of the fort were the officers' houses, barracks for the soldiers, the horses' stables and the Commissioner's depot. Read more about the emancipation of slaves and slavery at the Cape. The community of Bloemfontein initially consisted only of English speaking people. Almost all the houses and buildings were south of the stream on the so called 'water plots'.

The town grew with the building of churches and schools and attracted many other groups like Germans, the Dutch, Jews and Afrikaners who were the first pioneers to settler there. The fast growing pace of the town also attracted many Black and Coloured people in search of work. The Blacks and Coloureds originated from the Bechuana, Hottentot, and Fingo groups, many of them emancipated slaves. W Reitz, 'n Kultuurhistoriese Studie. Industry in Bloemfontein remained relatively small until the railway system was introduced.

The lack of effective transport together with the absence of electricity and proper water supply hampered the progress of industry in this city. One of the earliest industries in Bloemfontein was a tannery on the farm called Tempe in Other industries that developed were a wool washery, a steam mill and sweet factories in St.

George Street, known as the Bloemfontein Sweet Manufactory. There was also a vinegar brewery and a lemonade factory in St. Georges Street. In the 's, brick making became a profitable industry as building activity increased. The wagon and cart manufacturing industry became the strongest industry due to the absence of railways, but at the same time the demand for transport increased.

Even after the advent of railways, the wagon and cart industry still remained strong due to the need for wagons and carts by the mining industry. There was no real town planning that was intended to cater for the early industries, and most proliferated along the edge of the town next to the railway line.

The original water source was the main fountain, Bloemfontein Fountain, complimented by other fountains in the south. Over a period of 25 years, the water was to be carried from these water points to the houses of White residents. The fact that both humans and animals shared the water supply, made the conditions very unhygienic. Public and private wells were also sunk in order to meet the increased demand for water. The first public well was situated in the Market Square in , shortly followed by a well in Waaihoek. The increased demand for additional water supply led to the approval of a proposed water supply from the Modder River, with a dam at Sannaspos.

Some analysts blame the war on drugs. Previous historical research shows that, after the Civil War, there was a significant rise in imprisonment of former slaves in the U. The end of slavery also saw a rise in prison populations across the British Empire. Before the abolition of slavery in , the West Indies had a prison population of approximately 1, inmates. By , it had risen eightfold. As in the British West Indies, the end of slavery in the U. Thousands of digitized prison records are now available for not just the U.

Our analysis of nearly 25, prison register entries shows how connections between race and imprisonment started in the s. In addition to the name of the prisoner, the offense and details of the sentence, the records also include details like eye color, height, birthplace and place of conviction, as well as whether the prisoner was subsequently pardoned or escaped.

Before the Civil War, an average of 40 people a year were sent to prison in Georgia. Samuel W. Whitworth from Jones County was a typical prisoner. Sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, he managed to escape on Christmas Eve He was later recaptured and hanged in South Carolina. As a white man, Whitworth was part of the majority at a Georgia prison. From the s to the s, sentenced prisoners were forced to labor in the fields , rather than stay inside prison walls.