Prisons, Asylums, and the Public: Institutional Visiting in the Nineteenth Century
The prisons and asylums of Canada and the United States were a popular destination for institutional tourists in the nineteenth-century. Thousands of visitors entered their walls, recording and describing the interiors, inmates, and therapeutic and reformative practices they encountered in letters, diaries, and articles. Surprisingly, the vast majority of these visitors were not members of the medical or legal elite but were ordinary people.
Prisons, Asylums, and the Public argues that, rather than existing in isolation, these institutions were closely connected to the communities beyond their walls. Challenging traditional interpretations of public visiting, Janet Miron examines the implications and imperatives of visiting from the perspectives of officials, the public, and the institutionalized. Finding that institutions could be important centres of civic activity, self-edification, and 'scientific' study, Prisons, Asylums, and the Public sheds new light on popular nineteenth-century attitudes towards the insane and the criminal.
- Division: Scholarly Publishing
- World Rights
- Page Count: 240 pages
- Illustrations: 15
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
ReviewsPrisons, Asylums, and the Public is the first-ever book to examine institutional tourism in the nineteenth century. Janet Miron provides eye-opening insights as to why people wanted to visit prisons, how officials promoted asylum tourism to the general public, and how inmates themselves viewed these practices. Overall, Prisons, Asylums, and the Public is a well researched and valuable cultural history.
Akihito Suzuki, Department of Economics, Keio University
Author InformationJanet Miron is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Trent University.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
1. The Establishment of Custodial Institutions and the Early Practice of Visiting
2. Open Doors: Welcoming the Public Into Prisons and Asylums
3. "You Must Go!" Visitors to Prisons and Asylums
4. I Am Even Afraid that She Put Her Tongue Out: Inmate and Patient Responses to Visitors
5. What We Saw with Our Own Eyes: Visiting and Nineteenth-Century Culture
6. To Avoid Exposure and Publicity: Opposition to Visiting
7. Behind Closed Doors: The Changing Relationship between Custodial Institutions and Society
Subjects and Courses