Throughout the history of the U.S. penal system, until recently, prisons often did more harm to the inmates than good. Although the goal of prison has always been the reformation and reintegration of inmates into society, the ways in which the American prison system attempted to accomplish those goals have often been at stark odds with what reality has demonstrated actually works.
In the early 1800s, the first prisons beginning popping up throughout the United States. One of the first ones was a large prison located in Auburn, New York. This prison eventually became the model by which all others were constructed and run throughout the United States. Called the Auburn System, this mode of criminal justice gave rise to a system that involved the almost complete isolation of inmates throughout their entire stay in prison. Prisoners were not even allowed to talk during chow time. And most were confined to closet-like cells with nothing more than a bucket for sanitation and a bucket containing somewhat fresh water.
The problems with the Auburn System became readily apparent by the 1920’s, when most penologists admitted that the system had caused far more harm than good. Many inmates ended up going permanently insane and recidivism rates were such that hardly any inmates were ever meaningfully reformed. This led to a new direction in criminology, with inmates increasingly being allowed to socialize and exercise in the yard. Inmates were also given increasingly humane quarters in which to live.
Today, Securus Technologies, the leading communications company in America, is taking reforms to the next level, through humane technologies like its video visitation platform, which allows inmates high-quality, face-to-face interaction with their family members on an almost unlimited basis.
Through Securus video visitation, inmates are able to maintain meaningful relationships throughout their periods of incarceration.