congregate system | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction 

The Congregate System was another name for the Auburn System, which was a philosophy of penitentiary management where inmates worked in silence during the day and were in solitary confinement at night.

The Congregate System, also known as the Auburn System, was a form of penitentiary management that emerged in the United States during the early 19th century. It was named after the Auburn Correctional Facility in New York, where the system was first implemented.

Under the Congregate System, inmates were required to work in silence during the day, with only brief periods of supervised exercise and recreation. The goal of this approach was to instill discipline and productivity in the inmates while also providing them with useful skills that they could use upon their release. In order to maintain order and prevent communication between inmates, strict rules were enforced, including the prohibition of speaking, reading, and writing.

At night, inmates were placed in solitary confinement in individual cells. This aspect of the system was intended to further discipline the inmates while also reducing the risk of escape and limiting the spread of disease. However, the use of solitary confinement was also criticized by some as being inhumane, as it could lead to mental health problems and other negative effects.

Despite these criticisms, the Congregate System became popular in the United States and was adopted by many other prisons in the country. It was seen as a more humane and efficient alternative to the earlier method of punishment and management known as the Walnut Street Jail System, which was characterized by overcrowding, violence, and a lack of resources.

The Congregate System was also adopted by some European countries, including France and Britain, where it was known as the Separate System. However, this approach was often modified to include more communication and interaction between inmates, as well as more opportunities for education and rehabilitation.

In the United States, the Congregate System was eventually replaced by newer approaches to penitentiary management, including the Reformatory System. These newer systems placed more emphasis on rehabilitation and individualized treatment rather than simply punishing and controlling inmates.

[ Glossary ]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.