Criminal Justice Essay

1517 words - 7 pages


September 4, 2013
Sherri Webster

The corrections system is a constantly changing system in today’s society. The allowance of change within this system is crucial to society’s needs. From centuries ago, punishment, itself has changed drastically.
Jail, is a place where criminal offenders are taken. Jails are usually run by the county Sherriff. This type of correctional facility is a criminal offender’s first stop, depending on the crime committed, that is used to straighten out the misbehavior of the said criminal offender in the hopes they will change their ways. According to Seiter (2011),”Jails are the watershed of the ...view middle of the document...

It was not until the Quakers, a deeply religious group, believed that a criminal should be dealt with in a more humane fashion and given labor. By 1786, convicts were providing honest labor while wearing the “ball and chain” and brightly colored clothing. Soon after, other colonies began incarceration for criminals rather than public humiliation. These early prisons were controlled by the locals and often mixed different genders and types of offenders. After the nation began to form, each individual state controlled their own prison system. Prisons, began to be controlled by the federal authorizes. Offenders who were convicted of federal crimes, in the late 1800s, were put in the state prisons if the sentence was over one (1) year and jails if the sentence was under one (1) year. This didn’t change until the U.S. Department of Justice was formed in 1870 and in charge of all federal prisoners. In 1891, Congress passed the Three Penitentiary Act due to the states reluctance to keep federal crimes because of the already over-crowding prisons. This act resulted in the construction of three (3) penitentiaries to hold federal offenders. These prisons are Leavenworth, Kansas, McNeil Island, Washington and Atlanta, Georgia. Over time the federal prisons began to over-crowd as well. As this became a more pressing problem, the Department of Justice constructed a female prison, in West Virginia and a reformatory for male inmates. In the late 1920s, the Department of Justice decided that there needed to be a separate agency to oversee the operation of the prisons. “The Congressional Special Committee on Federal Penal and Reformatory Institutions agreed and recommended the establishment of a central agency to administer federal prisons.” (Seiter, 2011, “Chapter 5: Prison Systems”). Finally in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was formed. This agency was in charge of “providing more progressive and humane care for Federal inmates, to professionalize the prison service and to ensure consistent and centralized administration of the 11 Federal prisons in operation” (Seiter, 2011, “Chapter 5: Prison Systems”). Today the federal prisons and detention centers for offenders who are sentenced to a federal crime is a nation-wide system.
According to Seiter (2011), Over the past decades, state correctional agencies have gone through a slow but deliberate transformation. ("Chapter 5: Prison Systems"). Early stages of state run prisons were very dysfunctional. They had no centralized control over the different state prisons nor funds set aside for individual prisons. There was not any legislature for prisons early on. The person in charge of the prison, the warden, would be responsible for their own hiring, firing, training and management of inmates. Wardens were often appointed by the state’s govener, who really had no idea on the prison system or day to day operations. However, since the prison system continued to grow, states began forming departments that...

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