First-generation jails were created in the 18th century and were known as "linear designs." Prisoners were housed in cells or dorms under this concept. In the hallways, the cells were lined up, and convict control was limited. These prisons are known as "podular remote-supervision facilities."
Second-generation jails were established in the 19th century and were called "blockhouses." This type of prison was designed with an internal division of labor between officers and assistants. The officer's office was located on one side of a hallway, while the inmates performed their duties on the other. These prisons are known as "guardian-supervised community centers."
Third-generation jails were built in the late 20th century and early 21st century. They use modern security technology to prevent attacks from within the facility. There are three types of third-generation jails: maximum-, medium-, and minimum-security facilities.
Maximum-security prisons offer the most freedom from surveillance but also have the highest rates of violence. These prisons are usually very small with only a few housing units and little space outside of your cell. Convicts usually work inside the facility, so access to jobs and educational programs is limited.
Medium-security prisons offer less freedom than maximum-security prisons but more privacy than those who are incarcerated in minimum-security facilities. These prisons are larger than minimum-security prisons but smaller than maximum-security prisons.
The architecture of next generation prisons is more podular, with many cells facing a common space. Furthermore, while using these podular designs, a direct supervisory technique is frequently adopted. Direct supervision occurs when there are no physical boundaries between deputies and inmates in a facility. The inmates are allowed to come into contact with personnel at all times throughout the day as their assignments require it.
These new types of facilities aim to reduce security risks by reducing the amount of time inmates are alone in their cells. This is done by allowing them to mingle with others during scheduled activities called "shifts." In addition, inmates are given work assignments that help them develop job skills and earn money. They may also have access to a computer in order to communicate with other people or use the internet for personal purposes.
Next generation prisons try to eliminate violence by keeping inmates busy and out of trouble. If an incident does occur, staff members are able to respond quickly because they are not physically separated from their prisoners.
This type of prison is used when an inmate's background check reveals a history of serious crime. Because staff members are not protected by a glass wall when interacting with inmates, they can take precautions not to get hurt if an argument breaks out or someone else gets violent.
Additionally, next generation prisons aim to provide rehabilitation services to inmates.
Third-generation institutions, which first appeared in the 1960s, entailed the partitioning of big jail facilities into smaller units led by unit managers. The second-generation podular design with remote monitoring gave rise to podular design and direct supervision. The third generation includes administrative divisions of officers and staff, each with its own chief who report directly to the warden.
These new institutions were intended to relieve crowding in older jails and are evident in plans for new facilities today. For example, in 2003, the city of Los Angeles proposed building an "innovative" jail called the Men's Central Jail Class A Facility. It would be designed to hold 1,500 people, about 500 fewer than the capacity of its nearest competitor. The reduction in beds would allow for the relocation of many current inmates to less expensive housing options within the city while still keeping occupancy rates low enough to qualify as a third-generation facility.
In addition to being more efficient use of space, third-generation jails also reduce costs because they have lower staffing requirements and can be operated at a profit. Also, inmates tend to act responsibly in small groups, so there's less need for constant surveillance. Finally, transferring inmates from more expensive private homes to less expensive public facilities reduces the risk of them running away or committing other crimes while awaiting trial.
The advent of the third generation marks a turning point in the history of American incarceration.
Today's jail design involves either direct or indirect monitoring. Rather than isolating convicts in rows of cells, the facility is divided into "pods" that are crowded around a central monitoring station. The idea is to give prisoners the impression that everyone else is being watched all the time.
Each cell in a prison has a window and a door. The window allows light into the cell during daytime hours while the door provides access to the yard or hall. Prisoners wear identifying tags attached to their clothes. These tags can be read by security cameras located throughout the building.
Jails also contain exercise yards similar to those found in prisons. The only difference is that inmates in jails can be held in segregation (separated from the general population) for a period of time without becoming physically exhausted like those who work in the prison factory line would be. This is because they are not working; they are awaiting trial or sentencing proceedings.
Exercise programs vary depending on what type of facility you are in. For example, if you are in a state prison, you will likely be required to participate in some sort of physical activity program for maintenance of your health. This may include spending time in a gym setting using weight machines or just walking in a large fenced area of the campus.
Cellular Jail, a large three-story facility, was built to incarcerate political prisoners in isolation and physical suffering in order to suppress liberation uprisings against British colonial authorities. The first prisoner was detained here on 5 May 1857. Cellular Jail has been preserved by the government as a memorial museum.
Image source: The Guardian. Article written by Rachel Britten. Image credits: Rajan Haarika/AFP/Getty Images.
This article is part of the "Features" collection. Features are occasional articles that explore aspects of Liverpool history and old photographs. They are not researched pieces, but instead offer interesting anecdotes from those who have lived them firsthand.