Prison Reform

Prison Reform

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  • Prison Reform- 1841
  • Yes, of course.
  • Could you please go teach Sunday School at the East Cambridge prison?
  • 1841
  • Oh my goodness! This is horrible, how could you treat them like this?
  • These are our inmates. They're mentally ill.
  • 1843
  • The way they're treated is terrible. I must write a letter to the state legislature.
  • In 1841, a woman named Dorothea Dix agreed to teach Sunday School for people at jail.
  • 1843
  • "...confined in cages, closets, cellars, stalls, pens! Chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience!”
  • The scene she witnessed was horrifying. Conditions in the prison were bad, and prisoners were treated terribly. She saw people bound up in chains, children with petty theft charged as adults, and the mentally ill were locked up and often whipped.
  • 1843-1887
  • I demand you fix this right now. You treat these people terribly.
  • For two years, she found out everything about what the prisons were doing. Gathering all the information together, she wrote a letter to the Massachusetts state legislature.
  • 1887
  • I can live happier knowing we won't be treated terribly just for being mentally ill.
  • The state legislature was shocked. They voted to create asylums for the mentally ill.
  • This is horrible! We must put a stop to this!
  • Dix went on to visit prisons in other states, demanding they fix their inhumane treatment of the mentally ill.
  • Y-yes ma'am!!
  • Once she died, debtors were no longer put into prisons, there were special justice treatments for kids who were in trouble, and many outlawed cruel punishments, all of which still apply today, all because of her.
  • All because of that wonderful woman, Dorothea Dix!
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