The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the by Rebecca M. McLennan

By Rebecca M. McLennan

America's prison-based method of punishment has no longer continually loved the frequent political and ethical legitimacy it has this day. during this groundbreaking reinterpretation of penal background, Rebecca McLennan covers the sessions of deep instability, renowned protest, and political challenge that characterised early American prisons. She info the debates surrounding criminal reform, together with the bounds of kingdom strength, the impact of industry forces, the function of unfree hard work, and the 'just deserts' of wrongdoers. McLennan additionally explores the process that existed among the warfare of 1812 and the Civil battle, the place deepest businesses depended on prisoners for exertions. eventually, she discusses the rehabilitation version that has basically characterised the penal process within the 20th century. Unearthing clean facts from felony and country documents, McLennan exhibits how, in each one of 3 special sessions of hindrance, frequent dissent culminated within the dismantling of previous structures of imprisonment.

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Additional info for The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776–1941 (Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society)

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Masur, Rites of Execution, 28, 152. , 1985), 399. ” Dumm, “Friendly Persuasion,” 399. See also, Harry Elmer Barnes, The Evolution of Penology in Pennsylvania: A Study in American Social History (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1929). Arguing that the deprivation of liberty might be more efficacious as a deterrent, and less politically damaging, than execution, Beccar´ıa wrote: “It is not the terrible yet momentary spectacle of the death of a wretch, but the long and painful example of a man deprived of liberty, who, having become a beast of burden, recompenses with his labors the society he has offended, which is the strongest curb against crime.

Atkinson, “The Free-born Englishman Transported,” 94. 45 In the early phase of this system of penal servitude, the legal and moral standing of penal involuntary servants (in colonial law) had not differed significantly from that of ordinary indentured servants. According to Alan Atkinson, before 1748, “transport” servants in Virginia enjoyed much the same set of liberties as indentured servants. Convict servants collected freedom dues upon completion of service, and despite the fact that some convicts had been banished for a term of fourteen years, the duration of servitude was much closer to that of ordinary, indentured servants and rarely longer than seven years.

McLynn observes that the Code was pocked with anomalies: For example, many injurious acts were not capital crimes, and the penalty for a crime often turned on the time and place in which it was committed. McLynn explains the high rates of pardon in terms of the interests and ideology of the English ruling elite: They were not committed to the principle of certainty in law (wherein conviction for a particular crime always results in the same punishment) because they approached criminal law less as an instrument of deterrence than as an instrument of social control.

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