Write a response with your initial thoughts, feelings, questions, and
” responses to the Chapters 3-4 of Are Prisons Obsolete?
That’s my initial thought
I find it interesting that the current penitentiary systems have their root in religious ideologies. It is ironic also to realize that the punitive prison system was a product of concerted efforts to create a better corrective system by the reformers (Davis 40). However, an analysis of the penitentiary system shows that prisons are moving away from the deadly and cruel methods of correction to more lenient approaches to offenders. It is interesting to note how people have moved away from a punitive system where they employed torture, burning, mutilating, or burying offenders alive, to a more corrective one where the only punishment is confinement to maximum prisons. Based on history, there is hope that more humane systems of correction will be instituted as time goes by.
The ideas of John Howard, such as disciplined self-reflection and internalization, are fascinating concepts incorporated in the Penitentiary Act of 1799 (Davis 46). I think that if prisoners could change their perception about their incarceration, they would have it easy in cells as they wait to serve their sentences. A shift in mental perspective from seeing oneself as a prisoner in jail to a monk in a monastery and seeing the sentence period as an opportunity for self-reflection and connecting with God can help reform even the most hardcore offenders. Although considered the worst form of torture, the Pennsylvania system of total isolation, silence, and solitude for the prisoners could be an opportunity for self-reflection, depending on the prisoner’s mental attitude. This form of physical confinement could have emancipatory effects on the prisoner, such as allowing the soul to flourish (Davis 48). This idea shows the involvement of religious leaders in shaping the penitentiary system.
From harsh punitive measures to lenient modes of confinement, there is more the prison system can do to offer better services to the offenders and encourage them to reform.
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