Hard Time: Reforming the Penitentiary in Nineteenth-Century Canada

McCoy, Ted

Published by UBC Press
ISBN 10: 1926836960 / ISBN 13: 9781926836966
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Synopsis:

Prisons have always existed in a climate of crisis. The penitentiary
emerged in the early decades of the nineteenth century as an
enlightened alternative to brute punishment, one that would focus on
rehabilitation and the inculcation of mainstream social values. Central
to this goal was physical labour. The penitentiary was constructed
according to a plan that would harness the energies of the prison
population for economic profit. As such, the institution became central
to the development of industrial capitalist society. In the 1830s,
politicians in Upper Canada embraced the idea of the penitentiary, and
the first federal prison, Kingston Penitentiary, opened in 1835. It was
not long, however, before the government of Upper Canada was compelled
to acknowledge that the penitentiary had not only failed to reduce
crime but was plagued by insolvency, corruption, and violence. Thus
began a lengthy program of prison reform.



Tracing the rise and evolution of Canadian penitentiaries in the
nineteenth century, Hard Time examines the concepts of
criminality and rehabilitation, the role of labour in penal regimes,
and the problem of violence. Linking the lives of prisoners to the
political economy and to movements for social change, McCoy depicts a
history of oppression in which prisoners paid dearly for the reciprocal
failures of the institution and of the reform vision. Revealing a
deeply problematic institu- tion entrenched in the landscape of Western
society, McCoy redraws the boundaries within which we understand the
penitentiary's influence.



Ted McCoy teaches at the University of Calgary. His
research focuses on punishment and incarceration.

Book Description: Tracing the rise and evolution of Canadian penitentiaries in the nineteenth century, this book examines the concepts of criminality and rehabilitation, the role of labour in penal regimes, and the problem of violence.

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Title: Hard Time: Reforming the Penitentiary in ...
Publisher: UBC Press

Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: As New

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