The first federal prison in America opened in Auburn, New York in 1821.
To regulate prisoner activity, Auburn employed what came to be known as the Auburn system.
In the hopes of instilling discipline and effecting rehabilitation, the Auburn system required inmates to work silently in groups.
When not working, inmates were confined in silence to individual cells to meditate on their crimes.
Economical and labor efficient, the Auburn system became a popular method of imprisonment in the U.S.