American Institutional and Prison Reformation of the 1800s Prior to the Civil War, Jacksonian America was a time of immense reforms in many public establishments including schools, family, and prisons. The most influential characters of the reformation of prisons in the 1800s undoubtedly consist in the Auburn and Pennsylvania systems and social reformer, Dorothea Dix. During this time in America, the concept of imprisonment came upon with profound religious beliefs, primarily of the Quakers. Prisons also shifted from being institutions of criminal prevention to a foundation for rehabilitation.
The Auburn system often referred to as the ?congregate system,? was first implemented in 1819 in the New York State Prison. The structure incorporated Quaker standards of reformation mainly regarding more humane conditions but still was considered more brutal than the Pennsylvania system. According to the Auburn system, prisoners labored together in total silence during the day, but were housed separately at night.
The philosophy of the prison based itself on the fear of punishment and silent confinement. Strict discipline was enforced and violators were subject to harsh reprisals. The work regimen produced income that the Pennsylvania system simply did not generate, making the Auburn system more cost effective and practical.
The second model, the Pennsylvania system, began in 1829 in the Eastern State Penitentiary at Cherry Hill. This system was based on extreme solitary confinement for convicts by day and night with the belief that a felon alone in a cell with only a Bible to read could be rehabilitated.
The major differences between the two practices rest in the number of inmates per cell; Pennsylvania holding one per, while Auburn holding ten to fifteen times that amount. The housing styles also being different in that Pennsylvania was based on the traditional plan for housing monks in a monastery. The...