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Essay on The Domestication of Women

Project id 1002174
Subject area Self Improvement
Document type Essay
Words 3343
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In the history of the American penitentiary, women are, for the most part, invisible. The history of women's prisons in addition to theories about female criminality did not factor into the conversation. In comparison, there is a big amount of literature and scholarship on man prisons and prisoners of that same time. This paper is an effort to fill that gap. With Women, Prison, & Crime, Women in Prison and Their Sister's Keepers by Jocelyn Byrne, Cyndi Banks and Estelle Freedman, respectively, this paper attempts to outline the background of women's prisons and the primary theories about female offenders from 1840-1930. In assessing both of these theories in conjunction with the standing of women in society in these special occasions, a pattern emerges. Theories about female offenders, along with the following approaches created to control them , are a direct reflections of society's belief that a woman's place is in the national sphere. Thus, from 1815-1930, society just considered women criminal when they left the world and reformatory efforts went towards their own return. The Inception: 1815-1830 Before the prison, was the scaffold. This public form of bodily punishment came under question during the age of enlightenment from the colonies. The enlightenment came with fresh ideas of what comprised humane treatment. In order to be inline with these ideas, thinkers like Benjamin Rush, made the penitentiary for a replacement for the scaffold. Instead of strict punishment, the penitentiary would offer reform. This reformation took shape in two different models: Philadelphia and Auburn. In the two models, prisoners were subject to subject, labor and silence. The only distinction is that in the Pennsylvania model the offenders.

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