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It is bad or they died out of a corner and the Senate of the law all you want. A parrot of the rant to which you have at it. And before we let you go what would your view be brittle and if the president appeared in a county courthouse the circuit judge sentences a convicted defendant within a few hours the former accused will become a convict a prisoner an inmate of a state penitentiary. What kind of institution will he enter. Under what conditions will he do. What will be done to or for him in your state. Will he be merely punished or will an attempt be made to understand him as an individual in need of help to find a partial answer to these questions. Questions to which the public is paid slight attention from earliest times a representative of the Florida State University visited state penal institutions throughout the United States.
The result of these visits is a prison document a series of radio programs in which the individuals involved from the governor to the loneliest prisoner tell their own stories. Let's take the parrot a ship through a broken back in the day they would do what they call hanging you up a new square platform from Tennessee. I wouldn't front. Maybe it's a tear. It's attached to the ceiling which were you with handcuffs. And they would have you know they haven't had to carry it out. They take you there to take you there. They call it hanging up on the mule. The tense is passed but the speaker is a comparatively young man who had
experienced it. Prison in the minds of most of us can know it's punishment. The price paid for committing a crime. Yet within the penal institution itself I'm related to the prison sentence of the offender. There is the constant possibility that he will break a prison rule subjecting himself to a compound punishment. We have indicated in this theory that the traditional concept of the reason for existence of Prisons is giving way to a new theory. Recall the basic question around which prison document is designed. What are our prisons for. Recall that in some states of this country all aspects of prison life are geared to treatment of the prisoner as a man with a problem. In other states less enlightened. Prison is still merely a place of detention separation from normal society as punishment for a crime. But even in these dates the elaborate cruelty of such disciplines as hanging up on the mule have for the most part gone by the board and also guarding the
southern road camp described to our reporter the way things were in the old days. Yes quite a change in that we do. One tried to be a little bit mean you know then the other one in the other way they just tried out new the other one and I'd shake Rudy you might say I'd call it that now I wouldn't. A few years back but it definitely I want to try to outdo the other one to see what he can do against it for it in jail. Then the prisoners hated the same way and the official won't put up with that now in NANAU that would come in you and Brad you showed you that he wouldn't lay it in a tent prison and the patient would get rid of it. We are not allowed to hit a man unless you change staff protection point of protection of another prisoner when your protection of state property. Listen to the man who describes a type of punishment he received to a breaking prison rules. He is intelligent articulate.
He is also a repeated offender who could speak readily and with authority of personal experience on virtually every type of prison in the United States. Well I have two different types one of which probably never received the papers were I want to have on the prison which was about 3 feet off the water that when you went places dark black in the middle I don't accept this when I bought a can for free so just put the food in it. Tray on the packet it just shouted across the water. Here was a guard who would really prefer not to discuss the old time discipline. He helped enforce any word. Man do I need braces I'm going to walk in the cellblock and hear it you know the rule is violated too bad you know my refusing to
work or maybe cutting and having made a something like that they would hang around and leave and it would take them down revive him and maybe put him back again if they refused to work and then we had you know what we call it it was a failing to have harmony sat in a chair electric chair in a manner put in there and they had to stand up and wear a manner to the bar and their wrist. Back and away they couldn't understand right away when they would have me or say you want to have their own camp guard describes the change that took place in his own thinking. He had been brought up with a strat already and I depended on it. I thought the band couldn't be run without it now that our nation and friendship did you find it
worked where we thought it did. But coming back to the present time was that other thing like that show that segregation and that solitary confinement would way better than the French and the men themselves. But tell me that they'd rather have whacked. They said you get to strap me was through with it a little while. I remember the one thing all prisoners have in common. Each of them has broken a law has been found guilty of criminal behavior been sentenced to prison. Bring these men together in an unnatural environment impose a new and intricate set of rules on them. Some of them many of them will break these laws as easily as they broke the laws outside. What happens today to a man in prison who breaks the prison laws for an answer our reporter went to a large
Eastern State Penitentiary one which is neither a model of the ideal treatment philosophy nor on the other hand a horrible example of traditional thinking. The assistant warden describes the disciplinary set up a base prison for prisoners arriving here are placed in first grade thereafter. Prisoners are permitted to earn 10 days a month off their sentence for good behavior and good work in an institution. When they first arrive at an institution it is assumed that they are going to behave. And in order to arrive at the earliest minimum data Brayley's and wish to appear before the parole board it is necessary to figure that a minimum sentence deducting a so-called good time from their sentence. Suppose that they commit some infraction of the rules. The guard takes the person into custody and files a disciplinary report against him their person appears before the warden a disciplinary card once a week. The
warden may hold a disciplinary record himself but that day when he is generally assigned to the second in command of the institution. This disciplinary ASR has with him at the time card is how several other persons. Maybe the captain. A psychologist and one other high ranking official of the institution and depending on the year seriousness of the violation the prisoner is assessed. Let us say on a minor infraction 10 days against the so called good time. Which or which time is added to his minimum sense and belies his appearance before the parole board but by the number of days he forfeits is also reduced from my first great questionnaire to a second great prisoner. We must remain in great for at least six months before he can again become a first grade prison without a further violation. What are some of the infractions you
might have at the same station while Franson So just like in any here city or town on the outside. People will get in fights a minor one for instance a fist fight not be an improper placement institution and that keeping us all clean. Talking back to an officer matters like that is a serious violation would comprise of an inmate being caught with a dangerous weapon on his person such as a homemade knife homemade blackjack. So far there is absolutely no corporal punishment inflicted on any inmate in an institution. In what do you use the deprivation of privileges in the forfeiture of good time. First grade prisoners are permitted to receive a total of five visits per month. They are also permitted to write as many letters to their families on their approved correspondence lesser friends that they have postage to cover. This state furnishes each inmate with a free letter per week.
They are also permitted to participate in all the programs of the institution such as recreation programs. Without any restriction. Second grade inmates have their vesting probably just cut down to two peasants by marking their letter writing to do business but we and I might state at this time that first grade inmates may spend in the commissary at the institution and the maximum amount of seven dollars and a half a week if they're in second grade that is cut down by half. Third grade inmates forfeit all of these privileges and must ask the warden for any visitor special letters or permission to purchase in the commissary. They are permitted Now I were to participate in a recreational program and a vocational and educational programs as well as second grade prisoners but the vesting letter writing commissar approaches are for third grade inmates are cut off.
Second grade inmates they are half a lot of first grade and make and receive a prisoner in another institution comments on the real weakness of the disciplinary system. As he sees it each car makes its own rules. He should make up its own rules. He should sort of standard for the inmates. Doesn't necessarily have to be a high standard because as I've said before they're they're working on wages and you can expect to get anything very great. Instead another state penitentiary the warden believed that discipline and morale reflect officer inmate relations. Try to emphasize the fact that character is caught in the top edge of any other contagious thing in the human mind or body and that you cannot give away what you
do not have. Wake plain and in this way that by example by tact courtesy and their sincere desire to help these men there they are sure will become a better man and they will assume a good morale on the part of the inmates. If morale is good. Part of the officers in the old days the prisoner had few privileges. Today he has more and these often serve as the basis for discipline in the form of recreation or like your wife started a radio captivating movie. Here's a warden with comment on disciplinary measures in his institution. Note the unusual role which the seasoning of food salt and pepper play in punishment. We have what's commonly known as an all out assault here and that's
for infractions such as Mission alignment for wake. Patient back in the child through a full time job. Gracious understood. It's simply a room a bed. And where manage confined alone you know no two are placed in there together. No furniture by floor no no light except when he's going to doctor come doctor comes once a day to check every question that you can find in this detention or sonot front door with a holder to buy tomorrow. The building that the doghouse or speakers contain any is ventilated itself where you get sufficient I am the longest period of time you can be allowed to stay in a 21 day age and what about food they get. Well it's all
based only gotten traction if he'd been quite a long rule of President. While you give be given palatable food only every third day how do you get a meal every day but palatable food only one of 30 would have for two days you'll get food without salt or pepper but no seasoning. We don't. Go much for your spring water and he must be examined by a physician. All the medical system every day and reporters sent in to the commission each to be on any medication is given in the food. What if the condition here is discipline of prisoners merely a question of corporal punishment versus solitary confinement. If this is the only question then Miss warden's comments on behalf of physical punishment sound humane. I think the use of this crap properly regulated and properly supervised is far more desirable as a means of correcting a president who is incorrigible than the present method of solitary confinement or the use of a
sweatbox. Many times the criminal mind is an undeveloped mind comparable to that of a child. No father a mother would correct a child for its misdeeds by locking it in a closet or giving it solitary confinement for a long period of time. They would use a switch they palm of the hand in the proper place. I think that that type of corporal punishment adjusted to the individual is far more likely to produce desirable results than the sweat box or solitary confinement. I abhor brutality as much as any man but it is far more brutal in my opinion to subject a bison to those long periods of a mental punishment when physical punishment would produce a better result and actually produce less pain over a period
of time. Of course any system for corporal punishment would have to be rigidly controlled and regulated to prevent its being abuse but properly handled. I think it is by far the more desirable way of correcting the incorrigible president to make him conform to present regulations in the bay the authors of those in authority. You said your father had had some success with that method. Yes when I was a small boy I my father was in charge of a division of the present system of the state and I saw that system in operation under very kind hearted man but one who was by men who required proper discipline in the person it was handed in such a way that the president has recognized that when they had earned it they got that bomb a punishment and it proved thoroughly satisfactory and they had to show the reaction of the prisoners.
Many of them after they had sight of their time as impression returned and worked as free labor on the same operation. Our reporter went to another institution where emphasis is on treatment. He played the preceding tape for some of the officials. One commented it would seem to me that the statements on the use of punishment in any institution are low. They're very definite in favor of punishing carpal tunnel. They are in no way defended except by a personal example and this presently Nabal must admittedly be somewhat prejudiced view of the fact that it was man's father who was a minister and in addition I don't think there's much question that corporal punishment will modify behavior. But
the side effects that we get and the modification and behavior you may stop one type of behavior and it does not mean that whatever the problem is causing that behavior will not. Another place one of the officials in this treatment type prison was strongly opposed to beating prisoners. Our reporter reminded him that the warden had said when controlled and I think that would be cruel and and worse than beating and beating part has got to be when you think you can control it. I guess the thing that just grows in so many different people learn different types of people that are going to be giving it is prison discipline a matter of strap versus the whole Remember the basic
question we are trying to find answers to in this series. What are our prisons for capital punishment. Omar. This way Mark and I can see that these are the only two alternatives I see is another alternative. He uses psychiatric evaluation and treatment and it would seem to me that this is already answered the question of modifying behavior not clear either corporal punishment or the use of isolation or segregationist web blocking or aware of any warning again and yet as even these men admit rehabilitation of the prisoner is not the whole problem particularly in the maximum custody type prisons there is also the problem of holding the prisoner in custody solitary works in solitary Firmian get one full meal every three days for health's sake and then the original of the three times of the year maximum
solitary is what 15 days. In order not to injure him in the 15 days which some men really do we have some newsreaders but. Read that whole we call our solitary hole and that's not a good name this voice of the ordinary layman is concerned it's not a hole that's a name that's been handed down only in this we should discontinue using ideas we don't to we don't have the man and we make it very clear to him that he punishes himself because what we would offer and we don't want to punish the man to the point to seniors to his hat. But I don't mind going on record I'm not in favor of making our solitary confinement comfortable but nevertheless just fell asleep fixing around a maximum security institution without being fired. Some place to punish them while in Rome. Now here is
Dr Vernon Fox of the faculty of the School of Social Welfare Florida State University to comment on the material you have heard. Dr. Fox the place of punishment has always been a questionable manner in disciplinary procedure because of the personal experiences in childhood of many administrators and the satisfaction it gives them in expressing aggression. National figures have expressed themselves in favor of varying types and degrees of punishment for delinquents and criminals both potential and accomplished. Yet not one professional association in juvenile corrections adult corrections or the behavioral sciences and IDEs has expressed approval or even toleration of punishment approaches to changing human behavior. Most have recorded their opposition to such practices. That punishment is effective in changing behavior is not questioned. Punishment is the most effective method we know in changing the behavior of
people. Experiments in the psychological laboratory have demonstrated this a beery already of punishment over reward in their effectiveness in changing behavior. However it has also been demonstrated clinically with people and in the laboratory with the rats that the secondary results of punishment are difficult to control or even to predict. A child being spanked by a father may also receive enough love affection acceptance and recognition from him to counterbalance the ill effects of the spanking. It would be nothing short of ludicrous to suggest that the same relationship exists in a prison. The analogy is not applicable in the laboratory. Neuroses and similar types of mental illness have been experimentally produced by using punishment. The
etiology of mental illness in men is always traceable by psychiatrist and psychologist to chronic punishment situations whether in formal unintentional or otherwise. On the other hand it is impossible to develop neurosis or mental illness. Impossible to develop neuroses and mental illness in animals or in people without punishment. It is obvious that the handling of individual misconduct in prison is from the psychological and psychiatric viewpoint a very complex problem. Because of the traditional absence of psychiatrists and psychological help in most prisons however a simplified procedure of gaining discipline has to be found. The pattern of custodial routine in handling misconduct cases begins with their original demand for compliance followed by deprivation or punishment to
reinforce the original demand. The increased demand. An emotionally immature individual actually intensifies his problem setting up a receipt of his I'm psycho and resulting in repeated misconduct of the same general type without the ability to appraise himself. The handling of difficult disciplinary cases is a psychological and psychiatric problem which requires more than the routine custodial attention. There is no lessening of antagonism there no helpful results from a demonstration of force without any judicial understanding of the problem. The problem is to understand the reason in the prisoner for his resistance to authority and to help him move from infant Dayal emotional positions to a mature status in which he can function normally. Several states have moved away from the routine custodial handling of misconduct and toward a treatment oriented
approach to discipline. The correctional systems face a dilemma. In the handling of misconduct in the institution society needs a system of rewards and punishment to promote normal emotional maturation so that the majority of persons will still learn to postpone immediate gratification for a future reward. A system of rewards and punishments is necessary to maintain the status quo as far as our value system is concerned. To accept this system of rewards and punishment and develop the capacity to postpone immediate gratification for future reward. Each individual has to have the ability to respond to the punishment reward system in an acceptable way. A minority of individuals do not have that capacity. That is why punishment is not an effective deterrent for those people. There is need for a moratorium on this system
of rewards and punishment to permit emotional maturation in a controlled environment. That is what the ideal prison attempts to do. The problem that the prison administrator faces is that of knowing when to shift from the pattern of rewards and punishment which can be used with the mature personalities to the moratoriums status of treatment within the system of rewards and punishment. The Barisan administrator must maintain a treatment center or Adjustment Center which is a therapeutic community without the sanctions of reward and punishment which the incorrigible offenders have already demonstrated by their encourage ability that they are not prepared to take. A maximum security institution needs facilities in which incorrigible offenders can be securely held in segregation from the rest of the population. No prison however needs
punishment. The recent experiences of San Quentin for example where the former Hall has been modified into an adjustment center complete with occupational therapy psychiatric consultation and treatment oriented costo DEA law officers has demonstrated that punishment is not only unnecessary but deleterious to the accomplishment of the correctional function of even the most hardened and intractable offenders. This has been a prison document a series of programs on the adult male in the state penitentiary on this program we have examined prison discipline all references to actual persons and places have been purposely deleted. We are indebted to prison officials all over the country and throughout the world for their cooperation and enthusiasm for the project. It is our sincere hope that prison document may provoke in each of you I desire to understand the philosophies and problems
in the correctional department of your own state consultant for the series is Dr. Vernon Fox of the faculty of the School of Social Welfare. Florida State University production has been by the staff of W FSU FM field recording by Thomas St.. Tape editing and engineering by Bill Ragsdale. Narration script and production supervision by Roy Flynn. Prison document has been produced and recorded under a grant from the National Television and Radio Center and is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the ne B Radio Network.
Prison document
Prison discipline
Producing Organization
Florida State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program takes a closer look at prison discipline. The listener hears a warden who deplores the passing of the lash. The program presents the dilemma of how to control hardened criminals and still rehabilitate them.
Series Description
A documentary series that examines prisons and their purposes.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
Law Enforcement and Crime
Media type
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Engineer: Stone, Thomas
Engineer: Ragsdale, Bill
Narrator: Fleming, William
Producing Organization: Florida State University
Writer: Flynn, Roy
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-11-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Prison document; Prison discipline,” 1958-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Prison document; Prison discipline.” 1958-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Prison document; Prison discipline. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from