Auburn Prison

We always gather information on the happy side of the life but the sad or fear side also prevails here .

Why not have a view on one of that kind, of side.

Today, I will be talking about the Auburn Prison or the Congregate System. This is a penal system of 19th Century, where people work in group during day and stay at solitude at night. They spent their life in complete silence….Kinda sad, right!!!!

This silence system evolved during 1820 at Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York.

This system favored as it promised to rehabilitate criminals by teaching them personal discipline and respect towards work, property and other people.

Auburn Prison is known for few things ….among them most important is the silence, then comes the striped uniforms and lockstep.

John D. Cray, a deputy warden at the prison demanded complete silence from the prisoners to take away the sense of self from them.

Irrespective of silence, the second characteristics of the prison was Community Activity. During day , they collaborate to perform the work. This work included in making “nails, barrels, clothing, shoes and boots, carpets, buttons, carpenters‘ tools, steam engines and boilers, combs, harnesses, furniture, brooms, clocks, buckets and pails, saddle trees…”.

In 1840, they made silk from silkworms. This prison became the first prison that made profit from the hard work of the prisoners.

While transporting the convicts in the prison, prisoners had to march in unison, locking their arm to the convict in front of them. They had to face one side and couldn’t look at guards or at the other convicts….So much of discipline.

Previously, for any offence they used to lash the prisoners. But, after one mishap, for any offence only six blows on the naked back with the ‘cat’ or six-stranded whip was the most punishment. In 1846, the whipping was also abolished.

Let’s have look for some more new punishment for the prisoners through these images

Cold Water Bath

The Yolk

Electric Chair

Women inmates were held in the windowless attic atop the high security prison. They shared a single room and slept in the same area where they worked, primarily at “picking wool, knitting, and spooling.” Afterwards, a new building was made for the women prisoners in the Auburn Prison.

This prison itself stands as the best example of Congregate.

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