Posted on 10/31/2010

Photo taken on February  5, 2006

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Port Arthur

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Asylum center and a separate prison behind

Asylum center and a separate prison behind
Port Arthur has the best example of a "Separate Prison" system. This system was started at Pentonville prison in London. The Separate Prison (sometimes called the Model Prison) was started in 1848, finished in 1853 and made bigger in 1855. It has 80 prison cells built in the shape of a cross. In the centre is a hall and a chapel. There are exercise yards built between the arms of the cross. The Separate system was a change in the way that prisoners were treated. Instead of physical punishment the system used psychological (mind) punishment. It was thought that physical punishment, such as whippings, only made prisoners worse. It did not turn bad people into good people. In the Separate prison they used the "Silent System". Prisoners wore a hood over their heads. They were not allowed to talk or make any noise. The guards wore special shoes and walked on mats so they wouldn't make any noise. Even in the chapel, each prisoner was kept in a separate wooden box where they could only see the altar. The prisoners were supposed to use the quiet time to think about the bad things they had done. Port Arthur was seen as the best prison in Australia.