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Rather than reforming the prisoners, these rules made bitter people out of them, people who, due to their resentment towards the authority, harbored feelings of enmity towards the authorities, thus making it more likely to return to a life of crime upon release as an outlet of these feelings.
A reading of the regulations makes it clear as to how ineffective these measures were with regards to the reformation of the prisoners. Though the warden was to make sure that the prisoners were reformed (Hennessy 19), there was no opportunity or help given to the prisoners to reform themselves; their only communication coming from the prison chaplain who was forbidden to impart anything other than religious instructions to them (Hennessy 20). The chaplain was also instructed to instill in their hearts the justification of their sentence and to instruct them to be obedient to the rules of the Penitentiary (Hennessy 20).
Not only were the prisoners not allowed any sort of communication with each other (Hennessy 19), they were also not allowed to have any reading material; a policy so strictly adhered to that those supervising the prison were not allowed to have any reading material with them whenever they were in close proximity to the prisoners (Hennessy 19). And it did not stop there; running, jumping, scuffling, singing, whistling and even laughter were prohibited to the prisoners (Hennessy 19 & 21).
The activity that was allowed to them was working, and even during work they were not allowed to stand facing each other or to even wink or nod at each other (Hennessy 21), they could not even stand so close to each other that they could be suspected of communicating with one another (Hennessy 23). And, of course, there were rules that laid down that if the authorities thought that a prisoner was not working to his full capabilities he could be punished (Hennessy 21). Even if they were sick, they could not skip work and ask to see the Physician-Surgeon, as according to the ...Show more

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Hennessy points out that the word “penitentiary” perhaps may have originated from the Church of Rome as they conceptualized a jail to be a place of penitence (Hennessy 12), however, the methods employed by the administration of the Kingston Penitentiary did nothing much…
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