Eastern State Penitentiary (1998)





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Published on Jan 14, 2011

Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary was built in the 1820s, inspired by Enlightenment ideas and Quaker belief in solitary reflection and penitence. This documentary, illustrated with period lithographs, engravings, and photographs, gives a detailed history of the prison from its initial practice of total solitary confinement through its transformation into an overcrowded "Big House" to its replacement with a modern facility in 1970.

The narrative places Eastern's changing practices in their social context and raises serious questions about the contemporary growth of prisons in the United States.

11-10-2016 Comments disabled because of this sort of comment:

"What kind of pussy-ass bitch feels bad for child molesters, murders, and rapists? Oh that's right, DIRTBAG LIBERALS, that's who....I say open this prison back up, throw the goddamn liberals in there"

which only proves that 1) they didn't watch, let alone understand, the video and 2) Americans are really poorly educated. Sad.

The issue of prisons in America is a discussion that should be centered around facts. Sadly, a proportion of youtube commenters seem incapable of discerning facts from uninformed feelings and prejudices.

The video dates from 1998 but the points made are still valid, i.e., that prisons, as exemplified by America's first prison which dates from the 1830's, have *never* fulfilled the original promise of the social problems they would address of either dissuading repeat offenders or rehabilitating criminals.

So, what then, is point of prisons?

If you think this is a liberal/conservative issue, then I can only say, pay better attention to what's being presented.

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