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To Find Out More

May 2024
1min read

The historian David J. Rothman has explained in masterful fashion what the inventors of the penitentiary were faced with and how their original ideas evolved into the institution we now accept as commonplace. Two books of Rothman’s, Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (Little, Brown, 1980) and The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Little, Brown, 1971), help make sense of things we do even today in all aspects of criminal justice.

The Story of Punishment: A Record of Man’s Inhumanity to Man, by Harry E. Barnes (Patterson Smith, 1972), and The Development of American Prisons and Prison Customs, 1776-1845 , by Orlando F. Lewis (Patterson Smith, 1967), afford excellent descriptions of prison life and of the road from Walnut Street to the major penitentiaries of the nineteenth century.

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