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At least three homicide victims — including one who was stabbed and another who was beaten — were classified as having died from natural causes, the report said. The report listed nine killings in which the victims had been previously attacked or officials had received other warnings that they were in danger. Prisons must screen inmates and separate sexually abusive prisoners from those at risk of sexual abuse, particularly gay and transgender people; the report said Alabama does not do so.

The federal investigation was opened during the Obama administration, after the lawsuits over prison abuses and published accounts of endemic brutality, violence and torture. The investigation continued under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had also served as a longtime senator from Alabama.

The report included a series of measures necessary to remedy the constitutional and other violations that regularly occur in the Alabama prison system, including additional screening for those entering the prisons, moving low-risk inmates, hiring additional corrections officers and overhauling disciplinary processes around violence and sexual assault. Similar federal civil rights investigations have resulted in consent decrees — court-approved deals that include a road map of changes that institutions such as police departments and state correction departments must adhere to in order to avoid being sued.

But in a break with past practice, Mr. Sessions placed three key restrictions on consent decrees. He said that a top political appointee must sign off on any deal. Department lawyers must show proof of violations that go beyond unconstitutional behavior. And the deals must have a sunset date, meaning they can expire before violations have been remedied. The current attorney general, William P. Barr, has not changed Mr. A study in Rio showed that pre-trial detention is still determined in The vast majority of those arrested are unable to pay for private attorneys, leaving them dependent on a precarious and understaffed public defender system.

The most recent state offices were established only in the period from to There are also highly significant imbalances in terms of quantity and quality of public defender services based on geography. In Rio, 90 percent of criminal defense cases are handled by public defenders, while 72 percent of counties in the rest of the country lack any public defender services. A constitutional amendment approved in mandated that every county in Brazil must have a public defender agency within eight years.

These groups are able to virtually rule prisons as a parallel powers to the official corrections structure. In Rio, prisons have been dominated by rival factions for decades. Rebellions due to over-crowding and inhumane conditions have been frequent throughout the country and have resulted in torture, beheadings, and assassinations. Prison experts expect increased violence between the two groups throughout the country. No group in the criminal justice community doubts the statistics, the projections of prison population growth, or the reality of human rights abuses.

Yet ways of dealing addressing the dilemma vary widely depending on who is proposing the solution. At a time when the implementation of capital punishment for a variety of relatively trivial offences was on the decline, the notion of incarceration as a form of punishment and correction held great appeal to reform-minded thinkers and politicians.

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In the first half of the 19th century, capital punishment came to be regarded as inappropriate for many crimes that it had previously been carried out for, and by the midth century, imprisonment had replaced the death penalty for the most serious offenses except for murder. The first state prison in England was the Millbank Prison , established in with a capacity for just under inmates. By , 54 prisons had adopted the disciplinary system advocated by the SIPD. Pentonville prison opened in , beginning a trend of ever increasing incarceration rates and the use of prison as the primary form of crime punishment.

In , the state of Pennsylvania passed a law which mandated that all convicts who had not been sentenced to death would be placed in penal servitude to do public works projects such as building roads , forts , and mines. Besides the economic benefits of providing a free source of hard labor, the proponents of the new penal code also thought that this would deter criminal activity by making a conspicuous public example of consequences of breaking the law.

However, what actually ended up happening was frequent spectacles of disorderly conduct by the convict work crews, and the generation of sympathetic feelings from the citizens who witnessed the mistreatment of the convicts. The laws quickly drew criticism from a humanitarian perspective as cruel, exploitative and degrading and from a utilitarian perspective as failing to deter crime and delegitimizing the state in the eyes of the public. Reformers such as Benjamin Rush came up with a solution that would enable the continued used of forced labor, while keeping disorderly conduct and abuse out of the eyes of the public.


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They suggested that prisoners be sent to secluded "houses of repentance" where they would be subjected out of the view of the public to "bodily pain, labour, watchfulness, solitude, and silence Pennsylvania soon put this theory into practice, and turned its old jail at Walnut Street in Philadelphia into a state prison, in This prison was modeled on what became known as the "Pennsylvania system" or "separate system" , and placed all prisoners into solitary cells with nothing other than religious literature, and forced them to be completely silent to reflect on their wrongs.

But by faith in the efficacy of legal reform had declined as statutory changes had no discernible effect on the level of crime, and the prisons, where prisoners shared large rooms and booty including alcohol, had become riotous and prone to escapes. The aim of this was rehabilitative : the reformers talked about the penitentiary serving as a model for the family and the school and almost all the states adopted the plan though Pennsylvania went even further in separating prisoners.

The system's fame spread and visitors to the U. The use of prisons in Continental Europe was never as popular as it became in the English-speaking world , although state prison systems were largely in place by the end of the 19th century in most European countries. After the unification of Italy in , the government reformed the repressive and arbitrary prison system they inherited, and modernized and secularized criminal punishment by emphasizing discipline and deterrence.

Another prominent prison reformer who made important contributions was Alexander Paterson [40] who advocated for the necessity of humanising and socialising methods within the prison system in Great Britain and America. Prisons are normally surrounded by fencing, walls, earthworks, geographical features, or other barriers to prevent escape. Multiple barriers, concertina wire , electrified fencing , secured and defensible main gates, armed guard towers , security lighting, motion sensors , dogs and roving patrols may all also be present depending on the level of security.

Remotely controlled doors, CCTV monitoring, alarms, cages, restraints , nonlethal and lethal weapons, riot-control gear and physical segregation of units and prisoners may all also be present within a prison to monitor and control the movement and activity of prisoners within the facility. Modern prison designs have increasingly sought to restrict and control the movement of prisoners throughout the facility and also to allow a smaller prison staff to monitor prisoners directly; often using a decentralized "podular" layout.

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Smaller, separate and self-contained housing units known as "pods" or "modules" are designed to hold 16 to 50 prisoners and are arranged around exercise yards or support facilities in a decentralized "campus" pattern. A small number of prison officers, sometimes a single officer, supervise each pod. The pods contain tiers of cells arranged around a central control station or desk from which a single officer can monitor all the cells and the entire pod, control cell doors and communicate with the rest of the prison.

Pods may be designed for high-security "indirect supervision", in which officers in segregated and sealed control booths monitor smaller numbers of prisoners confined to their cells. An alternative is "direct supervision", in which officers work within the pod and directly interact with and supervise prisoners, who may spend the day outside their cells in a central "dayroom" on the floor of the pod.

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Movement in or out of the pod to and from exercise yards, work assignments or medical appointments can be restricted to individual pods at designated times and is generally centrally controlled. Goods and services, such as meals, laundry, commissary , educational materials, religious services and medical care can increasingly be brought to individual pods or cells as well.

Generally, when an inmate arrives at a prison, they go through a security classification screening and risk assessment that determines where they will be placed within the prison system. Classifications are assigned by assessing the prisoner's personal history and criminal record, and through subjective determinations made by intake personnel which include mental health workers, counselors, prison unit managers, and others.

This process will have a major impact on the prisoner's experience, determining their security level, educational and work programs, mental health status e. This sorting of prisoners is one of the fundamental techniques through which the prison administration maintains control over the inmate population. Along with this it creates an orderly and secure prison environment. The levels of security within a prison system are categorized differently around the world, but tend to follow a distinct pattern.

At one end of the spectrum are the most secure facilities "maximum security" , which typically hold prisoners that are considered dangerous, disruptive or likely to try to escape. Furthermore, in recent times, supermax prisons have been created where the custody level goes beyond maximum security for people such as terrorists or political prisoners deemed a threat to national security , and inmates from other prisons who have a history of violent or other disruptive behavior in prison or are suspected of gang affiliation.

These inmates have individual cells and are kept in lockdown , often for more than 23 hours per day.


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Meals are served through "chuck-holes" in the cell door, and each inmate is allotted one hour of outdoor exercise per day, alone. They are normally permitted no contact with other inmates and are under constant surveillance via closed-circuit television cameras. On the other end are "minimum security" prisons which are most often used to house those for whom more stringent security is deemed unnecessary.

For example, while white-collar crime rarely results in incarceration—when it does, offenders are almost always sent to minimum-security prisons due to them having committed nonviolent crimes. Some countries such as Britain also have "open" prisons where prisoners are allowed home-leave or part-time employment outside of the prison. Suomenlinna Island facility in Finland is an example of one such "open" correctional facility.

The prison has been open since and, as of September , the facility's 95 male prisoners leave the prison grounds on a daily basis to work in the corresponding township or commute to the mainland for either work or study. Prisoners can rent flat-screen televisions, sound systems, and mini-refrigerators with the prison-labor wages that they can earn—wages range between 4. With electronic monitoring, prisoners are also allowed to visit their families in Helsinki and eat together with the prison staff. Prisoners in Scandinavian facilities are permitted to wear their own clothes.

Modern prisons often hold hundreds or thousands of inmates, and must have facilities onsite to meet most of their needs, including dietary, health, fitness, education, religious practices, entertainment, and many others. Nevertheless, in addition to the cell blocks that contain the prisoners, also there are certain auxiliary facilities that are common in prisons throughout the world.

Prisons generally have to provide food for a large number of individuals, and thus are generally equipped with a large institutional kitchen. There are many security considerations, however, that are unique to the prison dining environment. For instance, cutlery equipment must be very carefully monitored and accounted for at all times, and the layout of prison kitchens must be designed in a way that allows staff to observe activity of the kitchen staff who are usually prisoners.

The quality of kitchen equipment varies from prison to prison, depending on when the prison was constructed, and the level of funding available to procure new equipment. Prisoners are often served food in a large cafeteria with rows of tables and benches that are securely attached to the floor. However, inmates that are locked in control units, or prisons that are on "lockdown" where prisoners are made to remain in their cells all day have trays of food brought to their cells and served through "chuck-holes" in the cell door.

Prisons in wealthy, industrialized nations provide medical care for most of their inmates. Additionally, prison medical staff play a major role in monitoring, organizing, and controlling the prison population through the use of psychiatric evaluations and interventions psychiatric drugs, isolation in mental health units, etc. Prison populations are largely from poor minority communities that experience greater rates of chronic illness, substance abuse, and mental illness than the general population.

This leads to a high demand for medical services, and in countries such as the US that don't provide tax-payer funded healthcare, prison is often the first place that people are able to receive medical treatment which they couldn't afford outside. Prison medical facilities include primary care , mental health services, dental care , substance abuse treatment, and other forms of specialized care, depending on the needs of the inmate population. Health care services in many prisons have long been criticized as inadequate, underfunded, and understaffed, and many prisoners have experienced abuse and mistreatment at the hands of prison medical staff who are entrusted with their care.

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In the United States, a million people who are incarcerated suffer from mental illness without any assistance or treatment for their condition and the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend, known as the rate of recidivism, is unusually high for those with the most serious disorders. Some prisons provide educational programs for inmates that can include basic literacy, secondary education, or even college education.

Prisoners seek education for a variety of reasons, including the development of skills for after release, personal enrichment and curiosity, finding something to fill their time, or trying to please prison staff which can often secure early release for good behavior. However, the educational needs of prisoners often come into conflict with the security concerns of prison staff and with a public that wants to be "tough on crime" and thus supports denying prisoners access to education.

Whatever their reasons for participating in educational programs, prison populations tend to have very low literacy rates and lack of basic mathematical skills, and many have not completed secondary education. This lack of basic education severely limits their employment opportunities outside of prison, leading to high rates of recidivism, and research has shown that prison education can play a significant role in helping prisoners reorient their lives and become successful after reentry. Many prisons also provide a library where prisoners can check out books, or do legal research for their cases.

In some countries, such as the United States, drastic budget cuts have resulted in many prison libraries being shut down. Meanwhile, many nations that have historically lacked prison libraries are starting to develop them. This time spent reading has a variety of benefits including improved literacy, ability to understand rules and regulations leading to improved behavior , ability to read books that encourage self-reflection and analysis of one's emotional state, consciousness of important real-world events, and education that can lead to successful re-entry into society after release.

Many prisons provide limited recreational and fitness facilities for prisoners. The provision of these services is controversial, with certain elements of society claiming that prisons are being "soft" on inmates, and others claiming that it is cruel and dehumanizing to confine people for years without any recreational opportunities. The tension between these two opinions, coupled with lack of funding, leads to a large variety of different recreational procedures at different prisons.

Prison administrators, however, generally find the provision of recreational opportunities to be useful at maintaining order in the prisons, because it keeps prisoners occupied and provides leverage to gain compliance by depriving prisoners of recreation as punishment. Most prisoners are part of the "general population" of the prison, members of which are generally able to socialize with each other in common areas of the prison. In addition to the above facilities, others that are common include prison factories and workshops, visiting areas, mail rooms, telephone and computer rooms, a prison store often called a "canteen" where prisoners can purchase goods, and a death row where prisoners who have been sentenced to death await execution.

Prisons for juveniles are known by a variety of names, including "youth detention facilities", "juvenile detention centers", and "reformatories". The purpose of youth detention facilities is to keep young offenders away from the public, while working towards rehabilitation. The earliest known use of the term "juvenile delinquency" was in London in , from where it quickly spread to the United States.

By , juvenile courts had been established in all but 3 states. Like adult facilities, youth detention centers in some countries are experiencing overcrowding due to large increases in incarceration rates of young offenders. Crowding can create extremely dangerous environments in juvenile detention centers and juvenile correctional facilities. Overcrowding may also lead to the decrease in availability to provide the youth with much needed and promised programs and services while they are in the facility.

Many times the administration is not prepared to handle the large number of residents and therefore the facilities can become unstable and create instability in simple logistics. In addition to overcrowding, juvenile prisons are questioned for their overall effectiveness in rehabilitating youth. In the 19th century, a growing awareness that female prisoners had different needs to male prisoners led to the establishment of dedicated prisons for women. The aim is to protect them from physical and sexual abuse that would otherwise occur. In the Western world , the guards of women's prisons are usually female, though not always.

The needs of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth often conflict with the demands of the prison system. Prisons have formed parts of military systems since the French Revolution. France set up its system in They were modernized in and since their existence, are used variously to house prisoners of war, unlawful combatants , those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by military or civilian authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime. Military prisons in the United States have also been converted to civilian prisons, to include Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz was formerly a military prison for soldiers during the American Civil War. In the American Revolution , British prisoners held by the U. The British kept American sailors in broken down ship hulks with high death rates. In the Napoleonic wars, the broken down hulks were still in use for naval prisoners.


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  8. One French surgeon recalled his captivity in Spain, where scurvy, diarrhea, dysentery, and typhus abounded, and prisoners died by the thousands:. In the American Civil War , at first prisoners of war were released, after they promised not to fight again unless formally exchanged. When the Confederacy refused to exchange black prisoners the system broke down, and each side built large-scale POW camps.

    Conditions in terms of housing, food, and medical care were bad in the Confederacy, and the Union retaliated by imposing harsh conditions. By the legal framework of the Geneva and Hague Convention provided considerable protection.

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    In the First World War, millions of prisoners were held on both sides, with no major atrocities. Officers received privileged treatment. There was an increase in the use of forced labor throughout Europe. Food and medical treatment were generally comparable to what active duty soldiers received, and housing was much better than front-line conditions. Political prisoners are people who have been imprisoned because of their political beliefs, activities and affiliations.

    There is much debate about who qualifies as a "political prisoner". The category of "political prisoner" is often contested, and many regimes that incarcerate political prisoners often claim that they are merely "criminals". Others who are sometimes classified as "political prisoners" include prisoners who were politicized in prison, and are subsequently punished for their involvement with political causes.

    Many countries maintain or have in the past had a system of prisons specifically intended for political prisoners. This can happen either legally, or extralegally sometimes by falsely accusing people and fabricating evidence against them. Administrative detention is a classification of prisons or detention centers where people are held without trial. Some psychiatric facilities have characteristics of prisons, particularly when confining patients who have committed a crime and are considered dangerous. Some jurisdictions refer to the prison population total or per-prison as the prison muster.

    In , the International Centre for Prison Studies that at least As of [update] the United States of America had the world's largest prison population, with over 2. This increases government spending on prisons. Not all countries have experienced a rise in prison population; Sweden closed four prisons in due to a significant drop in the number of inmates. These parties have a strong interest in the expansion of the prison system since their development and prosperity directly depends on the number of inmates.

    The prison industry also includes private businesses that benefit from the exploitation of the prison labor. Prisons can be difficult places to live and work in, even in developed countries in the present day. By their very definition, prisons house individuals who may be prone to violence and rule-breaking. Academic research has found that poor conditions tend to increase the likelihood of violence within prisons.

    Prisoners can face difficulty re-integrating back into society upon their release. They often have difficulty finding work , earn less money when they do find work, and experience a wide range of medical and psychological issues. Many countries have a high recidivism rate.

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, If a society has a very high imprisonment rate, these effects become noticeable not just on family units, but also on entire poor communities. A variety of justifications and explanations are put forth for why people are imprisoned by the state. The most common of these are: []. Academic studies have been inconclusive as to whether high imprisonment rates reduce crime rates in comparison to low imprisonment rates; only a minority suggest it creates a significant reduction, and others suggest it increases crime.

    Prisoners are at risk of being drawn further into crime, as they may become acquainted with other criminals, trained in further criminal activity, exposed to further abuse both from staff and other prisoners and left with criminal records that make it difficult to find legal employment after release. All of these things can result in a higher likelihood of reoffending upon release. This has resulted in a series of studies that are skeptical towards the idea that prison can rehabilitate offenders.

    The National Institute of Justice argues that offenders can be deterred by the fear of being caught but are unlikely to be deterred by the fear or experience of the punishment. Sherman , they argue that better policing is a more effective way to reduce crime rates.