Before “getting [my] hands dusty” in the Norfolk Prison Colony archive, listed are a few questions I would like to further research:
1. By investigating the plans for their “model community prison,” can we see any of these intended goals working in prisons today?
2. How did the political atmosphere at the time affect the prison’s creation?
3. Are the sociological goals different from the rehabilitation processes seen today?
4. When did rehabilitation rather than retribution and punishment become part of the penal system’s concerns?
My goal for researching this archive is to learn more about what it meant to be an ‘ideal’ prison in the 1920s and 1930s in order to compare the progressive programs of that time period to the resources that are available to prisoners in our current society. Specifically, I am interested in whether the Norfolk Prison Colony sought to establish educational programs as a part of their rehabilitation process, particularly writing-based courses. If so, how do they function similarly and/or differently from modern non-profit programs like College Guild?