Order Description;

Upon reading The Discovery of the Asylum, one cannot help to recognize the incontestable connection between the breakdown of social structure and its contribution to the rise of the age of the pro-asylum movement during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Discuss the folowing concepts in a 5 page (minimum) written assignment:
? Incarceration as a solution for social problems (be sure to list several social problems of the time discussed in the text and how incarceration/institutionalization addressed each)
? The breakdown of the family unit, church power, dissolution of community cohesion
? The perceived increase in mental health issues, criminality, poverty (what led to these perceptions)
? The various potential motives for the pro-incarceration movement



Historically, prisons were created to establish peace in the society. Rothman reflected that between 1820s and 1830s there was a concerning argument over development of asylums and prisons. The argument was brought forward by a series of influences, circumstances, and interrelated events. The scholarly writer further observed that the existence of asylums and prisons was an excellent idea. This paper will discuss a number of solutions to social problems as observed by David Rothman.

 Imprisonment as a Solution to Social Problems

Rothman observed that in the nineteenth century the dependent and deviant classes were eliminated as ways of separating criminals from communities and families. During the Jacksonian era, the humanitarian reforms in the same century resolved to build asylum to separate the poor, insane, criminals, orphans, and juvenile delinquents from the society. Asylum became an essential idea that could convert the unfortunate individuals to become productive part of society through embarking on isolation, routine and work. However, Rothman observed that incarceration was highest reliable solution to social problems as opposed to the pro-asylum movement (Shorter, 1997).

The Jacksonian reforms assumed worked on the basis that asylums were based on philanthropic movements (Parish, 2013). Traditionally, deviant individuals were subjected into executions and public torture. The mental ill individuals were not spared either as the English Bedlams where they were subjected to thorough beating chained them. Local jails were flocked with violent insane people, debtors, prostitutes, and all sorts of criminals. The Jacksonian reforms intended to end the barbaric action by building asylums in between early and mid nineteenth century. The asylums appeared to have established an improvement on how to deal with dependent and deviant individuals in societies. Asylum was observed as a highly inconvenient place to eliminate deviant members of society despite the fact that they were termed as convenient (Rothman, 1971).

The Break Down

However, later on, asylums become unreliable institutions for dependent and deviant individuals. To illustrate, a big number of young United States developed fear of disintegration of moral in the society. Consequently, church became meaning less and become powerless, communities lost the needed cohesion. Moreover, the intensity of poverty, criminality, and mental illness among other social crises increased significantly. The fear contributed significantly to the establishment of incarceration over asylum.

According to Rothman, the invention of asylum failed to address problems enhancing morality among the deviant individuals. In fact, Rothman perceived that there were diverse intentions of creating asylum including inflicting fear towards criminals and establishing humanitarism. The way Americans defined poverty contributed to the communal breakdown. To illustrate, some ministers failed to delineate comprehensively who fits the category of poor during sermons. They failed to differentiate between the disabled, insane, orphans and widows; they were all viewed as poor.

Rothman that asylum lack the needed precedents to work when they invented asylum. The asylum posed weak initiatives to reform criminals as it was viewed as lenient measures to deal with deviant individuals. The institutions aimed at isolating inmates, force them to engage in productive task, and work on strict schedule. There were a number of cases of extremely harsh disciplinary measures against inmates, food bland, and monotonous of observing in mate days. to illustrate, between 1825 and 1826, the New York of Refuge was grilled for whipping youths for wetting beds. The institution also engaged in locking youths in cell for disobeying on repetitive occasions. In other words, institutions were no longer places for correcting deviant individuals’ vicious ways, but places of inhuman torture. At no single occasion should some acts such as wetting bed should have been treated like crime (Rothman, 1971).

Perceptions of increased criminality, health issues, and poverty

In the eighteenth-century, Americans failed to define crime and poverty as critical problems of society. In essence, the American citizen poorly interpreted poverty as asymptomatic situation as communal or personal failing despite the invention of asylums. They further demonstrated the modest effort needed to enact and device programs needed to eradicate crime and reform offenders. The Americans further failed to make a significant attempt to isolate deviant or dependent individuals. To make the situation worse, they portrayed unexpected generosity by understanding plights connected to them and even resolved to give offenders chances. Aspects such as careless, irrational, injurious, and inconsistent behavior contributed significantly in the nineteenth century.

In the eighteenth century, Americans viewed as a non-symptomatic condition. The perspective implied that they neglected to treat poverty as a critical defect that could create social disorder. The tradition also treated poverty as a condition that community could possibly handle without the need to strain. The clergy failed to maintain the hegemony of poverty for a long period in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. They created a perception that poverty was a God-given opportunity for man king to portray virtuous acts (Rothman, 1971).

Potential motives towards the pro-incarceration movement

The controversy exhibited in the traditional asylums such as the reform schools, orphanages, mental hospitals, and other institutions established to imprison dependent and deviant individuals led to rise of the pro-incarceration movement. These institutions turned out to worsen situations other than making things straight as the communities would have expected. Contrary to what colonialist perceived, Americans failed to conceive that the church, the family, and community network as effective tool for fighting rime and sin. These bodies therefore put little effort to fight crime as they treated crime as natural phenomena in an offender’s mind.

Rothman observed that psychiatrists have played a role in mistreating patients and more so inhibiting cases of injustices. The church failed to play decisive role to reach warnings to law deviant individuals. The church treated crime as sin implying that humankind was born to exhibit corruption. Consequently, the asylum contributed in making deviant behavior inevitable to the society. In essence, the roots of crime were easy to comprehend and the theory of its source triggered the modest controversy. They accused family errors as the standard interpretation of crime for failing to train the society regarding religious obligations and charges against social obligations. Consequently, the church contributed to infective action against offenders.

Rothman further perceived that corruptions could pervade the Jacksonian community the poor become unpredictably succumb to one vice or a serious of crime under particular circumstance. They are prone to temptations such as sins and opportunities of committing crime. In essence, the church welcomed all members of community including those that are various and those whose minds had evil motives. There was a big chance that the church could no longer deal with spread of crime.

Americans poverty should have been treated as societal context other than laying focus on the poor. On a similar note, the public interpreted the statement wrongly leading to a wrong social requital that lead to the modest need of protecting the poor from taking part in crime. Overall, the lenient nature of asylums was the leading motivating factor to the pro-incarceration movement (Rothman, 1971).

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