Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title:||THE FEDERAL PENITENTIARY SYSTEM IN CANADA, 1867 - 1899: A SOCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL HISTORY|
|Authors:||Calder, Arnold William|
|Abstract:||<p>The purposes of this thesis were threefold; to examine the essential features of the late nineteenth century penitentiary system, to outline its evolution, and to identify the forces promoting change and stability within the penal sphere. Chapter One discusses the influential pre-Confederation heritage. The direction of later post-Confederation penal evolution was largely determined by the theory and practice developed during the early years of penitentiary operation.</p> <p>After Confederation, federal penal institutions, prison staff, and penitentiary administration provided a framework for other developments in the system. In examining this framework, Chapter Two highlights the centralization of power and rationalization of administration that were expanded to unify and control the dispersed and distinctive institutions under federal control.</p> <p>Penitentiaries were expected to serve certain basic purposes, and those purposes shaped the content of the system. Chapters Three and Four explore the impact of the aim of convict reformation. Inmates were disproportionately drawn from the labouring class, and explanations of crime reflected that fact. The result was a penitentiary rehabilitation process that attempted to pass on Victorian values and habits to labouring class convicts.</p> <p>The attempt to reform the convict occurred within the framework of reformatory prison discipline, a broad approach embraced first by pre-Confederation inspectors. This theory<br />prescribed rewards and penalties to move prisoners through stages of improvement. In an effort to establish this scheme, penal authorities and politicians after Confederation instituted a range of incentives for penitentiary prisoners. The introduction of parole federally in 1899 represented a last implementation of the techniques encompassed by reformatory prison discipline.</p> <p>Despite the importance of this penal theory, its influence waned in the 1890s. During the last decades of the century, penal authorities and reformers increasingly identified different types of prisoners on the basis of degree of criminality. Distinctive measures were applied to recidivists and to first offenders in a departure from the single disciplinary stream that had been accepted at Confederation.</p> <p>Another basic purpose of the penitentiary was to inflict punishment. This goal is discussed in Chapter Five. Punishment was justified in various ways, but its presence was a consistent fact of penitentiary life in the period. However, the application of punitive measures altered between 1867 and 1899 in response to the increasing perception of varying types of convicts. That perception supported a movement towards differential punishment on the basis of the prisoners' records.</p> <p>Through the late nineteenth century, as Chapter Six demonstrates, pressure towards economy helped to shape the penitentiary reality. This pressure lent considerable importance to the persistent contemporary search for suitable and remunerative prison industries. For the convict, however, the basic fact of confinement was a punitive, institutional environment. That ertvironment and the prisoners' reaction to it are explored in Chapter Seven.</p> <p>Following lines largely set in the pre-Confederation period, the federal penitentiary system went through an important stage of development between 1867 and 1899. The influence of bureaucratic values in penitentiary administration intensified in that period, and new penal measures were introduced under the aegis of reformatory prison discipline. Yet within this context of penal evolution, the institutional character of the penitentiary, its class-directed nature, and its long-standing goals of punishment and reformation were basic enduring realities. For the convict, too, the essentially punitive nature of prison life altered little in the period.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
Items in MacSphere are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.