Retribution In Prisons

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Hardee 6

Austin Hardee

Prisons: Retribution or Refuge
Back-breaking hard labor, heavy chains, public punishment and poor living quarters may sound harsh, but at the time, it was the only means of serving justice to those in violation of the law. Today, this sort of punishment would be considered cruel and unusual, violating the prisoner?s eighth amendment right. Prisons today have undergone much reform and inmates have been allotted more privileges and rights than those of the past. With the new accommodations, prisons have become like a resort for those who have become outcasts in society.
In early criminal justice systems, retribution was a key idea in controlling crime. This term refers to the ?eye for an eye? way of thinking. Banishment
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Eventually, jails were expanded into larger facilities known as prisons, which were used for long periods of incarceration. American prisons were influenced by ideas from England and Scotland and were influenced by churches. One influential person in the reform of the American prison was John Howard. Howard observed the harsh treatment of prisoners by the guards and sought to change the system. He travelled to different countries to gain insight as to how the American prison systems could be improved (Champion 237-38). Howard advocated the passing of the Penitentiary Act of 1779. This act required prisons to create an environment where prisoners could perform hard labor, be given food, clothing and sanitary confinement, as well as opportunities to be schooled in trades. Howard wished for the prisoners to be better treated, but he also wanted them to continue some sort of work which would still cause the realization of the consequences of crime. His ?work as penance? idea provided the basis for the more modern term ?penitentiary? (Champion…show more content…
for convicts. Prisons should bring back the hard labor that previous convicts have endured. Some freedoms are understandable, such as food, shelter, and protection from excessive scourging. However, I feel it should be mandatory for inmates to be working constantly. They are not in prison to relax, but to pay for the crimes they committed. Certainly not to the extreme as in the beginning, but when and if an inmate is release, he should have a clear memory of the punishment endured for the crime committed.

Works Cited
Bureau of Justice Statistics. ?The Sentencing Project Research and Advocacy for Reform?. http://w.ww.ala.org/aboutala/sites/ala.org.aboutala/. July 2008.
Champion, Dean J. ?Corrections in the United States: A Contemporary Perspective?. Second Edition. Prentice-Hall: New Jersey. 1998.
Cornwell Law School. ?Prisoners? rights.? https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/.pages 55-61. December 1, 2016.
Fagin, James. ?Criminal Justice 2013?. Prentice-Hall: New Jersey. 2014.
McShane, Marilyn D. and Wesley Krause. ?Community Corrections?. Macmillan Publishing Company: New York. 1993.
The Center for Constitutional Rights & Lawyers Guild. ?The Jailhouse Lawyer Handbook, 5th Edition. Pages 17-64. Revised 2010 Edition.
Zyl Smit, Dirk van. ?Crime and Justice, Regulation of Prison Conditions", 39 Crime & Just. 503, database: lexis.
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