19th Century Reforms of Prisons and Mental Health Hospitals
During the nineteenth century United States prisons and mental health hospitals were in very bad condition. Officers treated prisoners like animals and would beat them regularly. The prison buildings themselves were often very run down and sometimes caves. Prisoners had to sit in solitary all day which made many of them go mentally insane. The picture on the left is a chair which they would be restrained in. In an Auburn Prison 80 men commited suicide or had mental breakdowns because of the confinements. The mentally insane were treated extremely poor as well. They were often chained and beaten because of their conditions. Most of the mentally ill were homeless because no one would give them jobs o. In 1843 the United states only had 13 mental institutions. People who needed help were not offered any. The goal of reformers was to turn harsh punishent at prisoners and the mentally insane into a practice of penitence and focusing on forming a good concience. The prisoners needed to learn their lesson and the way they were doing things before the reform really wasn't teaching them anything valuable. The reformers had alot of work ahead of them but they were determined to fix the conditions of prisons and hospitals.