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12 J. Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 35 (May 1921 to February 1922)
Historical Origin of the Prison System in America

handle is hein.journals/jclc12 and id is 43 raw text is: T]HE HISTORICAL ORIGIN OF THE PRISON
SYSTEM IN AMERICA'
HARRY ELMER BARNES2
I. THE LATE ORIGINS OF PENAL INSTITUTIONS
There is an old and well-worn adage that no prophet is without
honor save in his own country, and it would seem fairly accurate to
hold that the same sentiment may at times apply to prison systems and
types of prison reform. While the writer was born within five miles
of Auburn, New York, has passed by the Auburn prison hundreds
of times, and visited it in a score of instances, it was not until years
afterward, as a result of a historical study of penology, that he re-
ceived the slightest intimation that it had any historical significance
other than that which might attach to any prison structure which could
point to an existence of a century. Further, it may be doubted if
there are a half dozen citizens of the city of Auburn who realize that
the somber gray stone walls, surmounted by the stolid figure of Cop-
per John, enclose a structure that, with one possible exception, is,
historically considered, the most important penal institution in the
western hemisphere, if not in the world-one which furnished the
architectural and administrative pattern for an overwhelming majority
of the prisons of the United States, and was visited and studied by
the leading penologists and jurists of every important European coun-
try during the first half of the last century. It will be the purpose
of this paper briefly to indicate the historical background and origins
of the Pennsylvania and Auburn systems of prison administration and
their influence upon contemporary penology. In view of the limited
space at my disposal it has seemed best to omit most details of local
antiquarian interest and thereby make possible the treatment of the
much more vital general historical circumstances which combined to
produce these important types of prison discipline.
The prison, viewed as an institution for detaining men against
their will, originated in the most remote antiquity. It probably goes
back as far as the time of the general practice of cannibalism, when
'Paper read before the annual meeting of the New York State Historical
Society at Bear Mountain Park. October 7, 1920.
2Professor of History in Clark University, and Historian to the Prison
Investigating Commissions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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