Criminal and prison reform in Germany and the United States: Maryland and Prussia, 1870-1935

Andreas Fleiter

Over the decades after 1870 in many countries, criminal and prison reforms discussed and carried out. In the U.S., but also in Germany were built such as separate youth prisons and led the indeterminate sentence, the parole and the suspended sentence (probation) one. The history of these reforms will be examined in the dissertation in comparative perspective. This comparison is elaborated in two states, each of which followed a 'middle way' in the penal and prison reforms: Maryland and Prussia. Their reforms are to be analyzed in an institutionalist perspective, primarily as political processes that have been shaped by the interactions between institutions, political parties, private groups and general values. For the investigation are resulting four levels:

1) The arts and intellectual historical development of crime policies and the corresponding discussion of the prison to be taken of contemporary literature and to associate with a development history of the various reform groups and their political strategies.

2) The policy, which is based on the ministerial document stocks, parliamentary meetings and the daily press, the negotiation and adoption of reconstructing the reforms.

3) The prisons as independent institutions that need to be taken by way of example in the view, having regard to the dichotomy of prison administration and prisoners.

4) General context and macro-social processes which must be respected in the contextualization of the reform process.

From these perspectives one may approach the fundamental issue of the project, namely: how two such different societies as the American and the German reaction to the same challenge, crime, and how to affect what social forces the development of law and morality in both?