Prison Reform

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Social Studies Period 1 Chapter 18 Grade 8

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  • One day in 1841, a woman named Dorothea Dix teaches Sunday School in a prison and sees the terrible conditions the prisoners live in. 
  • They whip us and force us to stay in these dirty, crowded cells. 
  • I am only 20 cents in debt, and I've been here for 3 years! 
  • This is inhumane! Why is this allowed to happen? 
  • She travels around the state of Massachusetts and takes notes of the conditions in the prisons, seeing that they are all in as bad condition as the first prison. 
  • Are all prisons like this? 
  • I'm afraid so. The prisoners are treated worse than animals. 
  • Dorothea takes her information to the state legislation in Massachusetts in the form of a report and informs them of the conditions in the prisons. They say that they didn't know of the problem. 
  • The prisons need to be fixed! The prisoners are whipped and the conditions they live in are terrible! You need to do something about this! 
  • The legislation decides that special mental hospitals need to be created and there should be ways for the children and poor to get help from the government without going to prison. 
  • Any people who were in debt no longer went to prison where they couldn't make money, they got help fro the government. 
  • I used to be in prison for being 20$ in debt, but thanks to you, now I get help from the government and am out of prison! 
  • Mental hospitals were created for the mentally ill, so the people who needed help didn't have to live in terrible conditions anymore. 
  • I used to live in those terrible prison cells where we would be whipped, but thanks to you, now I can go to a mental hospital and get the help I need. 
  • The conditions in prisons became better, impacting people today because prisoners were no longer cruelly treated and no longer had to suffer severe punishments like being whipped. 
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