Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
L. Mara Dodge
During the first three decades of the 20th century, a dozen states built women's prisons using a cottage style architectural design. Instead of traditional cellblocks, female prisoners were housed in small units scattered across a rural “campus” setting. These cottages generally held 25 to 30 women in single or double rooms. To cut costs, some states (Maine, Kansas, and Ohio) developed dormitory style cottages housing 50 to 100 women. Each cottage, designed to foster women's rehabilitation by promoting the “idea of family life,” typically contained its own kitchen, dining room, and sitting room. In these idealized domestic settings, female prisoners received training in sewing, cooking, serving, and other domestic arts. Special cottages for pregnant, mentally defective, and/or inmates with venereal disease were common, as was racial segregation. Most reformatories classified cottages by security level: minimum, medium, and maximum. Cottages represented a radical departure from traditional prison design. During most of ...