Nineteenth-century penal authorities differentiated from solitary confinement the Auburn and Pennsylvania systems for suppressing prisoners’ communication.
Lock-step movement, face-to-back seating, and strict supervision suppressed communications among Auburn State prisoners.
Pennsylvania law established penitentiary-like cells in the Walnut Street jail in 1790. These cells communicatively isolated prisoners.
Techniques for suppressing prisoners’ communication at Eastern Penitentiary included keeping prisoners silent, in separate cells, at all times.
At Auburn Prison, only the prison warden, prison physician, and prison inspectors were authorized to communicate with prisoners in their regular, operational duties.
In the District of Columbia Penitentiary about 1845, communication between prisoners and the outside world was tightly restricted.
Pennsylvania law included among authorized visitors to prisons members of the Philadelphia Society for alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons.
Distinguished visitors were welcomed to Pennsylvania’s Eastern State Penitentiary and allowed to converse with prisoners held under its separate system.
About 3% of prisoners died per year under the Auburn and Pennsylvania prison regimes in early 19th-century U.S. Much larger figures are incorrect.
In the 19th century, public figures and penal scholars from around the world visited Auburn State Prison or Eastern State Penitentiary and discussed extensively their penal communicative practices.