The President of the National Committee on Prisons in 1916 made several suggestions for prison reform, including:
I hope that gradually the number of children placed in institutions, particularly in correctional institutions, will decrease to a minimum and that those who must be placed in institutions shall be so treated that they will be able to take care of themselves or be properly taken care of upon their discharge.
The number of person placed in jails before they are found guilty should also be reduced to a minimum, and those who have to be detained should be carefully segregated and not mixed up with habitual criminals, which often may have a bad influence upon them, especially upon young people.
Prison reform continues to this day: in August, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that they would no longer contract out to private prisons. If you haven’t read the breathtaking Mother Jones magazine expose on the private prison industry published this summer, which helped provoke public outcry leading to the Justice Department’s change, you really should (even though it’s practically the length of a small book):
My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation
Why We Still Need New Methods in Our Prisons: Adolph Lewisohn Says Reforms Have Not Gone Far Enough and Points Out Need of Improvements in Different Institutions
From October 1, 1916
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