Pennsylvania System vs. Reformatory System
Compare and contrast the Pennsylvania system and the reformatory system. Discuss which you would choose, considering the needs of today's correctional populations.
The Pennsylvania system, which is also known at the separate system, encouraged solitary confinement for the prisoners. The Pennsylvania system was the leading influence in penology for over a century and was the forerunner of modern corrections. It was designed to keep prisoners separate even as they worked in-order to keep the inmates from being distracted and impeding their repentance. The idea was originally developed by the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons, whose most active members where Quakers.
The first prison to apply this concept was the Eastern State Penitentiary which opened in 1829 on Cherry Hill in Philadelphia. The prisoners would be separated 24 hour a day in their cells, along being feed and work in their prison cells. The Eastern State Penitentiary was an architectural achievement; it contained running water and flush toilets in all the cells. The Pennsylvania system was adopted by many European Countries, however in the United States it was found to be too expensive and ultimately replaced with the Auburn system as the dominate system in the country for the next 50 years.
The Reformatory system is based on the rehabilitation of prisoners rather than their restraint in solitary confinement. The difference between prisons and reformatories is that prisons are meant to detain inmates as punishment rather than to help them learn to be effective members of society. That was then but today most correctional institutions offer some kind of self improvement; whether its education, employment or vocational training there are some reformatory properties however secondary.
The facility to be considered the first reformatory was the Elmira Correctional Facility, built in 1876 in New York. Elmira housed...