Philadelphia's infamous Eastern State Penitentiary (1829–1971) was the most famous example of a prison administered according to the Pennsylvania System of Separate Confinement, which argued that inmates should be totally segregated from one another while incarcerated. Eastern State Penitentiary's roots stretch back to an organization called the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (PSAMPP), which was formed in 1787 by a group of prominent citizens including Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and William White (Philadelphia's Anglican bishop).

Initially, the PSAMPP focused ...

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