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Change in a Modern Prison

By Robert Claridge


The prison at Danbury, Connecticut, stands as one of the most progressive in the modern federal correctional system. White and scrubbed, it lies anchored in a rolling landscape. An observation tower just outside is the visitor\u27s only hint that the sprawling structure he approaches is a prison and not a school, factory or corporate headquarters. He enters through electric sliding doors to the spacious prison compound whose athletic fields are bordered by administrative offices and by glove and cable factories. Lining the compound\u27s perimeter on the left and right are dormitories named after nearby towns and states. To the front of the institution on the left are the individual locked cells that make up the \u22Intensive Treatment Unit\u22 or \u22hole\u22 that is used for disciplinary punishment. But medium security Danbury Federal Correctional Institution does not have the harsh atmosphere that often surrounds a maximum security institution. Since sentences at Danbury are relatively short, discipline is normally less than severe and there is variety in programs and personnel. Some of Danbury\u27s approximately 700 inmates are serving the final months of sentences that began in higher security federal institutions. Others have been assigned to the FCI to serve either short, fixed terms or sentences which are flexible and give a chance for early parole. Most inmates have been convicted of property crimes-ranging from car theft to bank robbery-or of drug offenses

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1972
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