Reform movement

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  • Back then prisons were often over crowded and dirty. The prisoners were beaten by the staff and chained up.
  • Is every prison like this!?
  • Everyone who was convicted of a crime went to the same jail. Children who were accused of petty crimes could share a cells with prisoners who've done even worse crimes such as murder
  • The mentally ill were also put in prisons and were given no proper treatment. They were usually put in solitary confinement because no one knew how to treat them.
  • A woman named Dorothea Dix who was asked to teach Sunday School at the jail was shocked after witnessing these conditions. What shocked her the most was how the mentally ill were treated.
  • For over two years she visited prisons across America and recorded the conditions she saw in those prisons. She then would go to State legislatures to report what she saw and pushed them to pass legislation to fix these conditions.
  • We must change the prisons!
  • Prisons changed and became better. Juvenile centers were created and children were put their. Harsh punishments were banned and jails now became a place for repentance. Psychiatric hospitals were also created to help treat the mentally ill.
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