Basic Terms to Remember: Penology

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Olin Guy Blackwell – last warden of the Alcatraz Prison

  1. Devil’s island – French Penal colony from 1852 to 1959 where political prisoners are exiled

  2. Robben Island – a prison complex located at the coast of Capetown South Africa ahich serve as a refugee camp for people afflicted with leper before converted into a prison.

  3. Port Arthur – located in Tasmania, Australia, a penal colony which is the hardest English prisoner during the middle of the 19th Century.

Early Prisons in the Philippines:

During the Pre-Spanish period, prison system in the Philippines was tribal in nature. Village chieftains administered it. It was historically traced from the early written laws.

Established in 1847 pursuant to Section 1708 of the Revised Administrative codeand formally opened by Royal Decree in 1865, the first Bilibid Prison was constructed and became the central place of confinement for Filipino Prisoners by virtue of the Royal Decree of the Spanish Crown.

In 1936, the city of Manila exchanges its Muntinlupa property with the Bureau of Prisons originally intended as a site for boys’ training school. Today, the old Bilibid Prison is now being used as the Manila City Jail famous as the “May Halique Estate

  • It is the redress (compensation) that the state takes against an offending member of society that usually involves pain and suffering.

  • It is also the penalty imposed on an offender for crime or wrongdoing.

  • The authoritative imposition of something negative on unpleasant on a person in response to behavior deemed wrong by law.

Penalty and the Modern Period of Correction

Penalty is defined as the suffering inflicted by the state against an offending member for the transgression of law.

Ancient Forms of Punishment:

  1. Death Penalty / Capital Punishment – affected by burning, beheading, breaking at the wheels, pillory, and other forms of medieval executions.

Death Convicts refers to an inmate death penalty / sentence imposed by the Regional Trial Court is affirmed by the Supreme Court.

  1. Physical Torture / Corporal Punishment – affected by maiming, mutilation, whipping and other inhuman or barbaric forms of inflicting pain. The infliction of physical pain as a form of punishment.

  2. Social Degradation – putting the offender into shame or humiliation.

  3. Banishment or Exile / Ostracism / Outlawry – sending or putting of an offender which carried out either by prohibition against coming into a specified territory such as an island to where the offender has been removed. Presently known as “Destierro

Methods of Death Penalty Executed in the Philippines

  1. Garrote – this became popular when three Friar’s Priest commonly addressed as GOMBURZA, were executed in 1872 by the Spanish colonial rulers for exposing the venalities of the church.

  • An iron collar attached upon scaffold formerly used in Spain and Portugal. The convict is seated on the improvised chair with both hands and feet tied. Then, the victim’s neck is placed on the collar attached to it, finally the iron collar is slowly tightened by the screw at the back chair by the executioner until the death is pronounced dead.

  • This method of execution was abolished in the Philippines by virtue of Act 451.

  1. Musketry / Firing Squad – our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, died due to the alleged rebellion to the Spanish government. Drug Lord Lim Seng met his death sentence by firing squad in 1973 at Fort Bonifacio during Martial Law.

  2. Beheading / Decapitation – apprehended guerillas were beheaded by Samurai Sword at the Japanese Kempetei Garrison in 1943.

  • Derived from the Latin word DE meaning FROM, and CAPUT meaning a HEAD. Instead of using an axe, the method employed is by use of a sword and the practice whispered in China and Muslim States.

  1. Hanging – the famous tiger of Malaysia, Yamashita died of hanging from 13th footstep platform in 1946.

  • Mostly, the execution is conducted at dawn. The executioner will place a cloth over his head. Steel weights are strapped to the legs of the death convicts to ensure that he/she will die quickly. Then the rope will be placed around the neck or the convict, and finally, the platform will be removed.

  1. Electric Hair / Silia Electrica – the Muntinlupa Electric, which was originally used way back 1926, is chair has claimed more than seventy offenders convicted of capital offenses since its installation four decades ago.

  • The convict is seated on a chair made of electrical conducting materials with strap of electrodes on wrist, ankle, and head. Upon orders, the levers will be pulled-up and the fatal volts of alternating current pass the body until the convict dies. If ever the convict is still alive, the lever shall be pulled again until he is pronounced dead.

  1. Lethal Injection / Intravenous Poisoning – while the 1987 Constitution abolished death sentence, however, Congress in 1996 passed RA 7659 as amended by RA 8177 that imposes death penalty for heinous crime by Lethal Injection.

  • Developed in 1924 by an anesthesiologist in Nevada. Components of chemicals used in Lethal Injection are:

    • Sodium Thiopental – a sleep inducing barbiturate used in surgery to put the patient asleep.

    • Pancuronium Bromide – a drug capable of paralyzing the muscles.

    • Potassium Chloride – capable of stopping heartbeat within seconds, this is commonly used in heart-by-pass operations.

Other Forms of Execution

  1. Stoning to Death – a form of execution wherein the condemned person is pelted with stones.

  2. Crucifixion – a person convicted to death was nailed on the cross with both hands andd feet to add ignominy to his agony and humiliation. He was crowned with the specter of spines of vines in his head. Then the Roman pears were thrusts to his flesh body and died of asphyxiation.

  3. Burning at Stake – form of execution wherein the convict ids tied in pole and then set on fire alive.

  4. Pillory – Bouvier’s dictionary defines pillory as a wooden machine, in which the neck of the doomed culprit is inserted thereof and usually executed in public as a means of punishing offenders in Europe and Colonial America.

  • Pillory is a wooden frame with three curved holes in it (two for the left and right wrists and the middle curved hole is for the neck) and mounted on the post upon platform condemned man is left to die at the mercy of unfriendly weather. Other similar form with holes for the offender’s feet is called a Stock.

  1. Flagellation – an x-designed log was cross-joined and declined at 65 degrees backward. The hooded doomed-man was tied on the cross-x with both hands spread upward while the feet were spread apart. The con-man is bare naked except in the skimpy short pants.

  • The whipping rod is made of stripped hard leather with brass button in laid across and embedded at the tips. At the given signal, six men will whip 30 lashes each alternately and will continue, except upon the intercession of the victim or the State. This intervention of the aggrieved party to stop is tantamount to pardon and the man shall be released to freedom.

  1. Guillotine – a device for cutting-off people’s head developed in 1972 by Dr. Joseph Ignacio Guillotin, a member of the French National Assembly, he proposed that all executions must be uniform and painless.

  2. Gas Chamber – invented after World War I by a medical Corp’s Officer of the US Army as an alternative to electric chair. In medical term, the convict will die from HYPOXIA which means death due to the cutting-off of oxygen in the brain.

  3. Impalement – (Impaling) a form of capital punishment, it is the penetration of an organism by an object such as a stake, pole, spear, or hook, by complete (or partial) perforation of the body, often the central body mass. Killing by piercing the body with a spear or sharp pole.

Early forms of Prison Discipline

  1. Hard Labor – productive works

  2. Deprivation – deprivation of everything except the bare essentials of existence

  3. Monotony – giving the same food that is “off” diet, or requiring the prisoners to perform drab or boring daily routine.

  4. Uniformity – “We treat the Prisoners Alike”, “The fault of one is the fault of all”

  5. Mass Movement – mass living in cell blocks, mass eating, mass recreation, mass bathing.

  6. Degradation – uttering insulting words or languages on the part of prison staff to the prisoners to degrade or break the confidence of prisoners.

  7. Corporal Punishment – imposing brutal punishment or employing physical force to intimidate a delinquent inmate.

  8. Isolation or Solitary Confinement / Bartolina – non-communication, limited news, “the lone wolf”

      1. BJMP = 1 to 7 days

      2. BUCOR = 1 month to 2 months

      3. UN RULES = 22 hours to 15 days

Contemporary Forms of Punishment:

  1. Imprisonment / Isolation / Incarceration / Commitment / Incapacitation – putting the offender in prison for the purpose of protecting the public against criminal activities and at the same time rehabilitating the prisoners by requiring then to undergo institutional treatment programs.

Duration of Penalties:

  1. Death Penalty – Capital Punishment

  2. Life Imprisonment – Life time imprisonment for SPL

  3. Reclusion Perpetua – 20 years and 1 day up to 40 years

  4. Reclusion Temporal – 12 years and 1 day up to 20 years

  5. Prision Mayor – 6 years and 1 day up to 12 years

  6. Prision Correctional – 6 months and 1 day up to 6 years

  7. Arresto Mayor – 1 month and 1 day up to 6 months

  8. Arresto Menor – 1 day to 30 days

  9. Bond to keep the Peace – discretional on the part of the court.

  1. Parole – a conditional release of prisoners after serving part of his/her sentence in prison for the purpose of gradually re-introducing him/her to free life under the guidance and supervision of a parole officer.

  2. Probation – a disposition whereby a defendant after conviction of an offense, the penalty of which does not exceed six years imprisonment, is released subject to the conditions imposed by the releasing court and under the supervision of a probation officer.

  3. Fine – a pecuniary amount given as a compensation for criminal act.

  4. Destierro – the penalty of banishing a person from the place where he committed a crime, prohibiting him to get near or enter the 25-km perimeter.

Purposes/Justifications of Punishment

  1. Retribution (Personal Vengeance/Revenge) – the punishment should be provided by the state whose sanction is violated, to afford the society or the individual the opportunity of imposing upon the offender suitable punishment as might be enforced. Offenders should be punished because they deserve it.

  2. Expiation or Atonement – punishment in a form of group vengeance where the purpose is to appease the offended public or group.

  3. Deterrence – punishment gives lesson to the offender by showing to others what would happen to them if they violate the law. Punishment is imposed to warn potential offenders that they cannot afford to do what the offender has done.

  4. Incapacitation and Protection – the public will be protected if the offender has being held in conditions where he cannot harm others especially the public. Punishment is effected by placing offenders in prison so that society will be ensured from further criminal depredations of criminals.

  5. Reformation or Rehabilitation – it is the establishment of the usefulness and responsibility of the offender. Society’s interest can be better served by helping the prisoner to become law abiding citizen and productive upon his return to the community by requiring him to undergo intensive program of rehabilitation in prison.

The Age of Enlightenment / Age of Reason

18th Century is a century of change. It is the period of recognizing human dignity. It is the movement of reformation, the period of introduction of certain reforms in the correctional field by certain reforms in the correctional field by certain person, gradually changing the old positive philosophy of punishment to a more humane treatment of prisoners with innovational programs.

Juridical Conditions (Legal Requisites) of Penalty

Punishment must be:

  1. Productive of suffering – without however affecting the integrity of the human personality.

  2. Commensurate with the Offense – different crimes must be punished with different penalties (Art. 25 RPC)

  3. Personal – the guilty one must be the one to be punished, no proxy

  4. Legal – the consequence must be in accordance with the law

  5. Equal – equal for all persons

  6. Certain – no one must escape its effect

  7. Correctional – changes the attitude of offenders and became law-abiding citizens.

The Pioneers Correctional System

  1. William Penn (1614-1718) – he fought for religious freedom and individual rights. He is the first leader to prescribe imprisonment as correctional treatment for major offenders. He is also responsible for the abolition of death penalty and torture as a form of punishment.

  2. Charles Montesiquieu (Charles Louis Secondat Baron de la Brede et de Montesiquieu) (1689-1755) – a French historian and philosopher who analyzed law as an expression of justice. He believe that harsh punishment would undermine morality and that appealing to moral sentiments as a better means of preventing crime.

  3. Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) (1694-1778) – he was the most versatile of all philosophers during this period. He believes that fear of shame was a deterrent to crime. He fought the legality-sanctioned practice of torture.

  4. Cesare Beccaria (Cesare Bonesa Marchese de Beccaria) (1738-1794) – he wrote an essay entitled”An Essay on Crimes and Punishment”, the most exiting essay on law during this century. It presented the humanistic goal of law. “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime”.

  5. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) – the greatest leader in the reform of English Criminal Law. He believes that whatever punishment designed to negate whatever pleasure or gain the criminal derives from crime; the crime rate would go down. He proposed the philosophy of Utilitarianism. He also advocated the imaginary mathematical formula of Felicific Calculus. He is the one who devise the ultimate Panopticon Prison.

    • Panopticon Prison – a prison that consists of a large circular building containing multi cells around the periphery. It was never built.

        • Panopticon – to see everything or to observe

  1. John Howard (1726-1790) – the sheriff of Bedsfordshire in 1773 who devoted his life and fortune to prison reform. He is the Father of Prison Reform in the World, Great Prison reformer, A Philanthropist and the first English Prison Reformer. After his findings on English Prisons, he recommended the following:

    • Single Cells for Sleeping

    • Segregation of Women

    • Segregation of Youth

    • Provision of Sanitation Facilities

    • Abolition of Fee System by which jailers obtained money from prisoners

  1. Elam Lyndswarden of the Auburn and later of Sing-Sing (which he built), was one of the most influential persons in the development of early prison discipline in America. He is described as having been a strict disciplinarian who believes that all convicts were cowards who could not be reformed until their spirit was broken. To this end he devised a system of brutal punishments and degrading procedures, many of which remained as accepted practice until very recent times.

  2. Jean Jacques Villain – Father of Penitentiary Science. He pioneered classification to separate women and children from hardened criminals.

  3. James V. Bennett – Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons. He wrote about the closing of Alcatraz Prison and built the Federal Correctional Institution in Seagoville Texas.

  4. Elizabeth Fry – An English reformer sometimes referred to as the “Angel of Prison because of her driving force behind new legislation to treat prisoners humanely.

The Reformatory Movement

  1. Alexander Mocanochie – He is the Superintendent of the Penal Colony at Norfolk Island in Australia (1840) who introduce the “Mark System. A system in which a prisoner os required to earn a number of marks based on proper department, labor, and study in order to entitle him for a ticket for leave or conditional release which is similar to parole. He is the Father of Parole in Australia.

  2. Manuel Montesimos – the Director of Prisons in Valencia Spain (1835) who divided the number of prisoners into companies and appointed certain prisoners as petty officers in-charge, which allowed good behavior to prepare the convict for gradual release.

  3. Domets of France / Frederick August Demets – established an agricultural colony for delinquent boys in 1839 providing housefathers as in charge of these boys. The boys were housed in cottages with house fathers as in charge. The system was based on re-education rather than force. When discharge the boys were place under the supervision of a patron.

  4. Sir Evelyn Ruggles Brise – the Director of the English Prison who opened the Borstal Institution for young offenders, the Borstal Institution is considered as the reform institution for young offenders today.

    • Borstal Reformatory – the first juvenile reformatory in England. The Borstal Institution of England is today considered best reform institution for young offenders.

    • New York House of Refuge – the first juvenile reformatory in USA

  1. Walter Crofton – he is the Director of the Irish Prison in 1854 who introduced the Irish system that was modified from Mocanochie’s Mark System.

    • Progressive Mark System

    • Irish System

    • Father of Parole in Ireland

Four Stages of Irish System:

  1. The first stage of the Irish System was Solitary Confinement for nine months at a certain prison.

  2. The second stage was an Assignment to the Public Works at Spike Island. The prisoner worked his promotion through a series of the grades, according to a mark system.

  3. The third stage, the prisoner without custodial supervision and was expose to ordinary temptations of freedom.

  4. The final stage was the release on supervision under conditions equivalent to present day parole.

  1. Zebulon Brockway – the Director of the Elmira reformatory in New York (1876) who introduced certain innovational programs like the following:

    • Training School Type

    • Compulsory Education of Prisoners

    • Casework Methods

    • Extensive Use of Parole

    • Indeterminate Sentence

  • The Elmira Reformatory (The Hill) is considered forerunner of modern penology because it had all the elements of a modern system. Extensively used non-institutional correction. A new institutional program for boys from 16 to 30 years of age.



  1. The National Prison Association, now American Correctional Association was organized and its first annual Congress was held in Cincinati, Ohio.

  2. The first International Prison Congress was held in London. Representative of the government of the United States and European Countries attended it. As a result of this Congress, the International Penal and Penitentiary Commission, an inter-governmental organization was established in 1875 with headquarters at The Hague.

  3. The Elmira Reformatory a training school type of institutional program, social casework in the institution, and extensive of parole. The first separate institution for women was established in Indiana and Massachusettes.

Two Rival Prison Systems in the History of Correction

  1. Auburn Prison System – the prison system called the “Congregate System” / Group System. The prisoners are confined in their own cells during the night and congregate work in shops during the day. Complete silence was enforced.

  • Hard Wood Shops – place where prisoners do their labor

  1. Pennsylvania Prison System – the prison system called “Solitary System” / Silent System / Separate System. Prisoners are confined in single cells day and night where they lived, they slept, and they ate, and receive religious instructions. Complete silence was also enforced. They are required to read the Bible.

  • In 1934, the League of Nations adopted the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, drafted by the IPCC. The League requested all governments to give the greatest possible publicity to the Rules; to take the necessary measures in order that they might be observed; and to submit regular reports regarding their application and regarding the prison reforms achieved in the respective countries.


A Penitentiary, an institution for the imprisonment (incarceration) of persons convicted of major/serious crimes.

A building, usually with cells, or other places established for the purpose of taking safe custody or confinement of criminals.

A place of confinement for those charged with or convicted of offenses against the laws of the land.

A public building or other place for the confinement of person, whether as a punishment imposed by the law or otherwise in the course of the administration of justice.

(As defined in the Bureau of Corrections Operating Manual) it also refers to a penal establishment under the control of the Bureau of Corrections and shall include the New Bilibid Prison, the Correction Institution for Women, Leyte Regional Prison, and the Davao, San Ramon, Sablayan, and Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm.

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