April 25, 2020

From the writings of Philip Gulley

In 1829, Quakers designed and administered 
the first Supermax prison in the United States, 
the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. 
The prison consisted of tiny cells, 
each containing a Bible. 
Each inmate was isolated from human contact. 
The Quakers believed the quiet meditation 
on one’s misdeeds would help 
rehabilitate the inmates. 
Other prisons adopted the model 
and solitary confinement spread to other states. 

The Quakers eventually discovered 
the silence and mediation they cherished 
had a disastrous effect on others. 
The social isolation led to an increase in mental duress, which in turn created 
a more harsh and violent environment. 
What was restful to some was discouraging to others.