A royal decree, dated February 1891, established three classes of prisons: judiciary prisons, for persons awaiting examination or persons sentenced to arrest, detention or seclusion for less than six months; penitentiaries of various kinds (ergastoli, case di reclusione, detenzione or custodia), for criminals condemned to long terms of imprisonment; and reformatories, for criminals under age and vagabonds.
The penitentiaries are at Huntsville and Rusk, and there is a reform school for juvenile offenders at Gainesville.
The state commission of prisons consists of seven members appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate for a term of four years, and the institutions under its supervision in 1910 were the Sing Sing State Prison,' at Ossining, the Auburn State Prison at Auburn, the Clinton State Prison at Dannemora, the New York State Reformatory at Elmira, the Eastern New York Reformatory at Napanoch, five county penitentiaries, and all other institutions for the detention of sane adults charged with or convicted of crime, or retained as witnesses or debtors.
In order to minimize competition between prison labour and free labour, articles manufactured in the state prisons, the reformatories and the penitentiaries, are sold only to the institutions and departments of the state and its political divisions.
Abbot Gilles li Muisis, for instance, records how, at the Jubilee of 1300, all the Papal Penitentiaries were in doubt about it, and appealed to the Pope.
Cavite has long been the principal naval base of the Philippine Islands, and one of the four Spanish penitentiaries in the Islands was here.
Since the 12th century, the papal court had already had officials known as penitentiaries (poenitentiarii) for matters of conscience; the organization of the Penitentiary, after several modifications, was renewed by Benedict XIV.
The trustees of each penal institution are appointed by the governor, and the commissioners of the two penitentiaries and the managers of the state reformatory compose a Board of Prison Industries.
There were in 1908 two penitentiaries, one at Joliet and one at Chester, and, in addition to the two reformatory institutions for young offenders under the supervision of the Board of Charities, there is a State Reformatory for boys at Pontiac. The indeterminate sentence and parole systems are important features of the treatment of criminals.
A year later he obtained from the government of July a mission to examine prisons and penitentiaries in America, and proceeded thither with his life-long friend Gustave de Beaumont.
In the same century at Rome and at Constantinople we hear of "penitentiaries," that is priests appointed to act for the bishop in hearing the confession of sins, and deciding whether public discipline was necessary and, if it was, on its duration; in other words they prepared the penitents for solemn reconciliation by the bishop. A scandal at Constantinople in 391 led to the suppression in that city not only of the office of penitentiary, but practically of public exomologesis also, and that seemingly in Eastern Christendom generally, so that the individual was left to assess his own penance, and to present himself for communion at his own discretion.
Brooks, however, refused these conditions, saying that he could not reach the place designated "without running the gauntlet of mobs and assassins, prisons and penitentiaries, bailiffs and constables."