“Punishment, Penitence, and Reform”: Eastern State Penitentiary and the Controversy Over Solitary Confinement

In 1842, popular British novelist Charles Dickens traveled to Philadelphia to visit the mamĀ­moth Eastern State Penitentiary. What he found caused him to lament the “picture of forlorn affliction and distress of mind.” Surrounded by an imposing thirty foot high stone wall joined by castle-like towers at rising at each corner and dominated by a grim, turreted entrance, the prison...
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