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People in general are treated better in prison today than they were in the 1800's. In the late 1700's and early 1800's, prisoners were often treated very poorly. They were seen as "wild animals" and many times tortured.
Females, in particular, had different roles back then as well. If a woman was a prisoner she was breaking not only written law, but the unwritten laws as well. Women were second class citizens compared to men. They were usually housed with the general population (children as well) and often ended up prostituting themselves out, just to survive. Living conditions were very bad. Prisons today are much different. Prisons offer many different rehabilitation programs, quality food, and medical/dental coverage.
I am attaching a link below to a very interesting article that I came across. It discusses prisons of today, as well those from the 1700's and 1800's.
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