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Joseph J. Green

Northern Arizona University

Explain the key features of corrections in 20th century America in an essay. In your discussion of the evolving corrections system, include details about prison programs, prison architecture, female offenders, racial disparities, and key developments during the early, mid, and late century. At the end of your essay, make a prediction about how corrections will change in America through the 21st century.


1 Early 21st centry

Reformatory era ends in the early 20th centry 1910

Focus on punishment and future through educational and vocational programs

Industrial era begins 1910

Focus on inmates to produce products that helps support the prision

Prison programs?


Racial disparities?


2 Mid 21st century

Industrial era ends in 1935 due to laws

transition period through 1960


Lack of programs

Hands off doctrine

1960 Rehabilatative era begins

Focus on improvement of prison staff

Focus on criminals being “sick” and we just need to find a cure

Martinson realized that no one treatement reduced rates of prisoners returning to the system after being released

Funding is lost.


3 Late 19th century to current

Rehabilatative era ends in 1980 with the start of the retributive era

Return to the theory that crimes are a choice, not a sickness

Focus on being tougher on crime

5 Conclusion

Seems to be the start of a patern. We started with focusing on punishment, and ended with focusing on punishment. Soon, the focus, if the patter repeats, will return to focusing on helping criminals.

Prisons will become better for inmates

People believe that harsh conditions makes for worse people

Overcrowding will be a major interest

Reflects poorly on the United States to have such a huge percapita prisoner count

Drug crimes will be lessoned (they already have in many states)

Prison terms sentanced will remain high. People want prisoners to stay in prison. Still in the retributive era where we are tough on crime.


Compare and contrast the Pennsylvania and Auburn prison systems in terms of their architecture, orienting strategies, and advantages/disadvantages.



1 Architecture

2 Orienting stategies

PA – direct towards self reflection

Soul saving quakers

NY – direct towards

Economy saving laborers

3 Adv/disadv