This is the history of the foundations of modern carceral institutions in Ontario. Drawing on a wide range of previously unexplored primary material - including the papers of prison inspectors and officials and the correspondence of those who wrote to the authorities - Peter Oliver provides a narrative and interpretative account of the penal system in nineteenth-century Ontario.
In a century of massive social change, the penal system remained rural, local, decentralized, and resistant to transformations that were affecting other areas of society. Despite the efforts of reformers, neither the political elites nor Ontarians in general paid much attention to the inadequacies of a system plagued by neglect, penny-pinching, and the vagaries of local control. In the 1830s, the Kingston penitentiary and punishment by incarceration became the cornerstones of the system, and these elements, however flawed, dominated the Ontario correctional system until the late twentieth century.
'Terror to Evil-Doers' focuses on the purposes and internal management of particular institutions. By synthesizing a wealth of new material into a comprehensive framework, Oliver's seminal study lays the groundwork for future students and scholars of Canadian history, criminology, and sociology.
At a time of increased interest and renewed shock over the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, Acres of Skin sheds light on yet another dark episode of American medical history. In this disturbing expose, Allen M. Hornblum tells the story of Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison.
At the end of the eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham devised a scheme for a prison that he called the panopticon. For twenty years he tried to build it; in the end he failed, but the story of his attempt offers fascinating insights into both Bentham's complex character and the ideas of the period. Basing her analysis on hitherto unexamined manuscripts, Janet Semple chronicles Bentham's dealings with the politicians as he tried to put his plan into practice. She assesses the panopticon in the context of penal philosophy and eighteenth-century punishment and discusses it as an instrument of the modern technology of subjection as revealed and analyzed by Foucault.
Between 1829 and 1831, Jared Curtis, the newly appointed prison chaplain at the Massachusetts State Prison in Charlestown, interviewed every one of the over 300 inmates at the prison and recorded their biographies in two leatherbound notebooks. Those notebooks, fully transcribed and well annotated after their discovery in 1998, form the basis for Philip F. Gura's Buried from the World.
Curtis's notebooks provide the sole memorial of the hundreds of inarticulate prisoners who lived in the vast silence of Charlestown prison. The one or two paragraphs he devoted to each man capture in poignant shorthand lives otherwise lost to history, including details of age, race, upbringing and education, temperance, and the crime that brought that individual to Charlestown. Curtis's words, surrogate for theirs, reveal as in no other known document the contours of the prison experience in Jacksonian America.
Gura places the document in its historical context with a thorough and thoughtful introduction. He reviews the nature of nineteenth-century prison reform as the backdrop for the 1829 reorganization of the Massachusetts facility in which Curtis worked. Gura also details the daily regimen and conditions within the state prison and discusses the demographics of the institution's remarkably heterogeneous population.
In nearly a century and a half of continuous use, Boston's Charles Street Jail was a bustling crossroads where the famous and infamous rubbed elbows. Everyone from Whitey Bulger to a captured German U-boat captain to a future mayor of Boston--to name just a few--served time there. When it opened in 1851, the Charles Street Jail was hailed as a model for the humanitarian treatment of prisoners. Over time, though, as the jail grew increasingly outmoded, its name became virtually synonymous with corruption, misery, and overcrowding. In a landmark legal case in 1973, the courts ordered the jail closed, finding its conditions so bad they violated inmates' constitutional rights. After sitting vacant and deteriorating for many years, the magnificent, historic granite structure recently gained a new lease on life when it was renovated and transformed into a luxury hotel. Today, the building welcomes guests of a sort the old clientele could scarcely have imagined.
An inside look into one of the most mythologized prisons in modern America--the Sing Sing death houseIn the annals of American criminal justice, two prisons stand out as icons of institutionalized brutality and deprivation: Alcatraz and Sing Sing. In the 70 odd years before 1963, when the death sentence was declared unconstitutional in New York, Sing Sing was the site of almost one-half of the 1,353 executions carried out in the state. More people were executed at Sing Sing than at any other American prison, yet Sing Sing's death house was, to a remarkable extent, one of the most closed, secret and mythologized places in modern America. In this remarkable book, based on recently revealed archival materials, Scott Christianson takes us on a disturbing and poignant tour of Sing Sing's legendary death house, and introduces us to those whose lives Sing Sing claimed. Within the dusty files were mug shots of each newly arrived prisoner, most still wearing the out-to-court clothes they had on earlier that day when they learned their verdict and were sentenced to death. It is these sometimes bewildered, sometimes defiant, faces that fill the pages of Condemned, along with the documents of their last months at Sing Sing. The reader follows prisoners from their introduction to the rules of Sing Sing, through their contact with guards and psychiatrists, their pleas for clemency, escape attempts, resistance, and their final letters and messages before being put to death. We meet the mother of five accused of killing her husband, the two young Chinese men accused of a murder during a robbery and the drifter who doesn't remember killing at all. While the majority of inmates are everyday people, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were also executed here, as were the major figures in the infamous Murder Inc., forerunner of the American mafia. Page upon page, Condemned leaves an indelible impression of humanity and suffering.
Excerpts from nine of the most widely read Gulag books. In addition to providing a ghastly record of Communist terror, the Critchlows also explain why Western readers developed such deep mistrust of peaceful coexistence with any Communist nation. The Critchlows have rendered a signal service to scholarship by providing attention, access, and background to this historically important literature. -John Earl Haynes
Long before Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) shocked the Western world with its frightening description of a typical day in a forced-labor camp during the Stalin era, some readers in the West already knew of prison life in the Soviet Union, the Eastern bloc, and other Communist countries. A powerful genre of gulag literature had emerged in the late 1930s and developed throughout the cold war. Books by survivors revealed in graphic detail the systematic implementation of a totalitarian police state that induced terror in its citizens through torture, imprisonment in slave labor camps, and death. In Enemies of the State, Donald and Agnieszka Critchlow have selected excerpts from nine of the most widely read books from this gulag literature. The stories are riveting and inspiring. They are dramatic by their nature and illustrate humanity at its heroic best. But they have historical value too, because in addition to providing a ghastly record of Communist terror, they also explain why Western readers developed such deep mistrust of "peaceful coexistence" with any Communist nation. Memoirs from survivors of Communist prisons confirmed beliefs that the Communists could not be trusted. They told readers that Communist regimes operated through deception and denial, and that sympathetic visitors to the Soviet Union, China, North Vietnam, and Cuba were too often misled by the carefully staged performances of Communist officials. In short, gulag literature reinforced among American anti-Communists the idea of an apocalyptic struggle between communism and Western Christendom.
First published in 1982, this book describes a new kind of prison architecture that developed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The book concentrates on architecture, but places it in the context of contemporary penal practice and contemporary thought. Beginning with an exploration on the eighteenth-century prisons before reform, the book goes on to consider two earlier kinds of imprisonment that were modified by eighteenth-century reformers. The theory and practice of prison design is covered in detail. The later parts of the book deals with alliance between architecture and reform, and with the connection between the utilitarian architecture of the reformed prisons and academic neo-classicism. The overall aim of the book is to show the profound change that was being wrought in the nature of architecture, which was exemplified in the reformed prisons. Architecture, one emblem of the social order, was now one of its fundamental instruments.