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Word Count: 2,518
Development of the Prison System Prisons were virtually non existent before the 1700s prison was not considered a serious punishment for crime and was seldom used Instead governments imprisoned people who were awaiting trial or punishment whereupon they would receive the more common capital or corporal types of punishment Common punishments at that time included branding imposing fines whipping and the death penalty capital punishment The authorities punished most offenders in public in order to discourage people from breaking the law this falls under the theory of deterrence Some prisoners were punished by being made to row the oars on ships called galleys However English and French rulers kept their political enemies imprisoned in such prisons as the Tower of London and the Bastille in Paris In addition people who owed money were held in debtors prisons In many such cases offenders families could stay with them and come and ago as they pleased But the debtors had to stay in prison until their debts were settled Despite these two exceptions these early prisons bore virtually no exception to the modern prison system During the 1700s many people criticised the use of executions mutilations and other harsh punishments This was the beginning of the early prison reform These critics included the British judge Sir William Blackstone As a result governments turned more and more to imprisonment as a serious form of punishment Early prisons were dark dirty unhygienic and overcrowded They locked all types of prisoners together including men women and children plus dangerous criminals debtors and the clinically insane During the late 1700s the British reformer John Howard toured Europe to observe prison conditions His book the State of the Prisons in England and Wales influenced the passage of a law that led to the construction of the first British Prisons designed partly for reform These prisons attempted to make their inmates feel penitentsorry for
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