Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2007


Course syllabus for CJUS 413 History of Corrections

Course description: Current practices and ideology concerning corrections is grounded in our interpretations of its history. Students will come to understand exactly how correctional institutions came to implement the incarceration function for society, and in turn, are both shaped and shapers of culture. There will be in-depth discussions in terms of historical analysis regarding subcomponents (e.g., bail, jail, probation, different types of prisons, the death penalty, community-based programs, parole. release and reentry) of the correctional "subsystem " in criminal justice. We will discuss the early history of corrections in the United States. Rothman has argued that prisons arose in America as a humane experimental alternative to earlier punitive English punishments. The early prison systems developed in Pennsylvania and New York will be compared. Later American developments such as the Reformatory Movement, the warehouse era, and the emergence of the medical model in corrections will be examined. Particular focus will then be placed on the major changes in American prisons from the 1960s through the 1990s including the rejection of institutional authority by inmates, the growth of correctional staff professionalization and unionization, prison rioting, and the effects of the rejection of the medical model coupled with the introduction of stiff new sentencing guidelines on institutional overcrowding and prison population management.