summary2 - Alicia Deal Summary 2 CJ 736 Question Describe...

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Alicia Deal CJ 736 Summary 2 07-13-06 Question: Describe the evolution of U.S. penal ideology from the beginning of its inception to the present-day. The goals and justifications for penitentiaries in the U.S. are not a consistent phenomenon; in other words, the reasons for imprisoning criminals are ever-changing. Cycles of prison ideology appear on a pendulum where at one end retribution, punishment, and incapacitation are emphasized, while rehabilitation and reformation are emphasized on the other end, of course at differing times in our nation's history. Historically, imprisonment was rarely used as a punishment; instead it was commonly used to detain persons awaiting trial. Yet, during the end of the 18th Century incarceration gained popularity as a primary function of state- sanctioned punishment as an alternative to the death penalty and other harsh corporal punishments. This prison "movement" coincided with the Enlightenment era in which there was an emphasis on the "value of individual freedom" and human rights in Western society, particularly in the new-found U.S. Several prison reformers argued that prisons or penitentiaries served as a place in which inmates could seek penitence for their sins and become law-abiding citizens. Hence, the initial purpose of prisons, ironically, was an emphasis on rehabilitation and reformation. However, as Foucault remarked, punishment was shifted from the body (i.e. executions, mutilations) to the mind (imprisonment, solitary confinement). The first prisons either mirrored the Pennsylvanian (segregate) system or the Auburn (congregate) system. Both systems of
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