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1800s Prison and Asylum Reform

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kyra freeman

on 27 March 2015

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Transcript of 1800s Prison and Asylum Reform

1800s Prison and Asylum Reform
What is it?
When did it take place?
It took place during the 1800s but really started becoming a deal during 1845.
Where did it take place?
The reform mainly happened in America but Dorothea Dix also tried to get the reform to happen in Europe also.
What did it do?
changed the treatment methods
changed the conditions
less abusive activity
What changes did it bring about?
This reform made hospitals for mentally ill and prisons more humane. It also made these places have less abusive activity. The reform was made to make a change in how people were treated and to help the conditions of the prisons and mental hospitals improve and not be so horrid. This also changed how the mentally ill were thought of and gave them more dignity. Personal care was a big factor in hospitals for the mentally ill. When hospitals were overcrowded patients care was downgraded because they didn't get good treatment. During this time care was harsh the people in the hospitals for the mentally ill were treated like prisoners. They were beat and some were stuck in cages or pens. After the reform these ways have changed now most patients have their own doctor or nurse to help them and now people understand that they have dignity.
Dorothea Dix
Dorothea Dix visited private and public facility that she could access, documenting every condition she found no matter how horrid it was. Then she presented the information to the legislature of Massachusetts and demanded to start a reform. Her document shocked the audience. She even convinced Congress in 1854 to pass a law of making 5 million acres of land for treatment of the mentally ill. The bill was passed but then was vetoed by President Franklin Pierce. Dorothea founded new hospitals or additions to hospitals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Canada and received approval to fund state hospitals by the legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Samuel Howe
Howe has rightly been called the most significant and foresighted figure in the American history of special education. He was a big supporter of what Dorothea Dix was trying to create. He brought her to the Massachusetts legislature to change the laws concerning the nature of institutionalizing the mentally ill. Also was the founding director of the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth. Throughout his life Howe opened and organized schools designed to combine disabled students into society.
2 things they could have improved on?
One thing the reform could have improved upon is the death penalty because today 32 states have the death penalty. This could be improved because some people are charged with the death penalty and aren't guilty so maybe a life sentence would be better. If they were going to make a change why not figure out a different way to punish them? To this day they still haven't.
Another thing is they could have approved upon was the community being willing to pay taxes for the cause. They convinced the legislature but not the community. The communities taxes went through the roof when applying this changes for the hospitals and prisons to afford bed sheets, food and other necessary item for living. If the community was on board this reform would have been more effective.
How did it impact today?
The prison/asylum reform impacted today because prisons and asylums today have more treating rather than torture. Also because in prison we give them food they are not tortured or are not given the death penalty depending on what state you live in and the crime committed. But we do not kill or injure mentally ill or use harsh methods to get the “bad” stuff out of them. Today people in hospitals for the mentally ill are treated with lots of care and respect. We try to help them become more stable and have certified doctors and nurses. This is all because of the reform.
Interesting Facts
Dorothea Dix also went to Europe and asked for human rights to queen Victoria and the pope.
People didn't believe the mentally ill had dignity
Some treatments before the reform were being chained to pens, closet, cellars, stalls and more.
Prisoners were wanted to bribe their guards for minimal treatment, and those without money were often allowed to die of neglect.
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