Brockway, Zebulon Reed (1827–1920)
Penologist and prison reformer Zebulon Reed Brockway ushered in a new age of social control in America, one ostensibly based on enlightened and rational scientific principles. He is perhaps best known for his criticism of determinate sentencing and his advocacy of its replacement: the indeterminate sentence . In contrast to the determinate sentence, the principle of indeterminacy permits prisoners to complete their rehabilitation in the community if experts judge them sufficiently reformed. Brockway believed the determinate sentence was an “active cause of crime” because prisoners who were not yet rehabilitated could be released. Indeed, there was no incentive to reform. He felt the indeterminate sentence was a better alternative because it gave correctional authorities several concrete tools with which to reach the rehabilitative ideal. He thought it replaced the “law of force” with the “law of love,” instilling in prisoners “confidence,” “courage,” and “moral excellence,” which Brockway identified as “the ...