Crime and Punishment
Suffragette Helena Hill Weed of Norwalk, serving a 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for picketing July 4, 1917
– Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
English colonists who settled in the Connecticut Colony employed a patriarchal system of justice with town leaders creating early laws. Colonial crimes included blasphemy, idleness, adultery, and stealing, and the punishments were harsh and swift. Branding, ear cropping, dunking, and public stocks and whipping posts located on town greens were common ways to create social control. By the late 18th century, however, views on corporal punishment began to change and officials opened the state’s first prison in an abandoned mine in Simsbury (now East Granby) where those incarcerated would serve time for their crimes. In 1827 the state opened the Connecticut State Prison in Wethersfield to house prisoners and in 1963 relocated prisoners to the modern Osborn Correctional Institute in Somers.
On October 12, 1924, in New Britain, Connecticut, Gerald Chapman became America’s first “Public Enemy Number One.” Having set out... Read more » …[more]
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