Founded as a colony in 1682 by William Penn and granted statehood in 1787, Pennsylvania has been a pioneer in criminal punishment reform. The state was home to Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and developed the Pennsylvania system of reform. Pennsylvania was active in prison and capital punishment reform and was the first state to make only first-degree murder a capital offense in 1794, as well as the first to abolish public executions in 1834. While the state still allows capital punishment, efforts by reform groups ...

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