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How to pronounce penitentiary (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Dictionary definition of penitentiary

A type of correctional institution or prison where individuals convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated.
"He was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary for his involvement in the robbery."


Detailed meaning of penitentiary

A penitentiary is designed to house and rehabilitate individuals who have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment as a form of punishment for their offenses. It is a secure facility equipped with various security measures to prevent escape and maintain order within its walls. Penitentiaries often have multiple levels of security, ranging from minimum to maximum, depending on the severity of the crimes committed by the inmates. These facilities aim to provide not only punishment but also opportunities for rehabilitation and reform through educational programs, vocational training, and counseling services. The purpose of a penitentiary is to ensure public safety, deter future criminal behavior, and facilitate the process of reintegrating individuals back into society upon their release.

Example sentences containing penitentiary

1. The penitentiary was located in a remote area, far from residential neighborhoods.
2. The notorious criminal was transferred to a high-security penitentiary to prevent any escape attempts.
3. The conditions in the overcrowded penitentiary were harsh and lacking in basic amenities.
4. The penitentiary implemented a rehabilitation program to help inmates develop skills for their reintegration into society.
5. The prison guard patrolled the corridors of the penitentiary, ensuring order and security.
6. The penitentiary had strict visitation rules, limiting contact between inmates and their loved ones.

History and etymology of penitentiary

The noun 'penitentiary' has its etymological roots in the idea of penance and correction. It can be traced back to the Latin word 'paenitentia,' which means 'penance' or 'repentance,' and is derived from the verb 'paenitere,' signifying 'to make sorry' or 'to cause regret.' In Christian theology, 'paenitentia' was associated with the act of seeking forgiveness for one's sins and undergoing penance as a means of atonement. This concept evolved over time, and in the late Middle Ages, the term 'penitentiary' was used to describe a person who administered penance and absolution within the church. In the 19th century, in the United States, 'penitentiary' came to refer to a type of correctional institution or prison where individuals convicted of serious crimes were incarcerated with the aim of rehabilitation and penance. The word's etymology reflects its historical connection to the notion of repentance and the idea that imprisonment could lead to reform and spiritual growth for the incarcerated.

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Further usage examples of penitentiary

1. The penitentiary housed a diverse population, including individuals convicted of various crimes.
2. The inmate's behavior improved significantly during his time in the penitentiary, thanks to counseling and therapy.
3. The penitentiary had a well-equipped library to encourage reading and education among the inmates.
4. The penitentiary implemented a system of rewards and privileges to incentivize good behavior.
5. The penitentiary staff underwent extensive training to handle different situations and ensure the safety of both inmates and staff.
6. The penitentiary had a separate wing for inmates requiring medical attention or mental health treatment.
7. The penitentiary employed social workers to assist inmates in preparing for life after release.
8. The construction of a new penitentiary was announced to alleviate the overcrowding issue in the existing facilities.
9. He was sentenced to a maximum-security penitentiary for his crimes.
10. The old penitentiary held notorious criminals in the past.
11. The escape attempt from the penitentiary failed miserably.
12. Visiting hours at the penitentiary were strictly regulated.
13. She worked as a counselor in the state penitentiary.
14. The historical penitentiary had a grim reputation.
15. The penitentiary housed inmates with various sentences.
16. Riots broke out in the overcrowded penitentiary.
17. The new penitentiary aimed to prioritize rehabilitation.
18. He was released from the penitentiary after serving 10 years.
19. The penitentiary's walls were formidable and imposing.
20. The penitentiary implemented strict security measures.
21. The penitentiary's library promoted education among inmates.
22. The penitentiary's location was isolated from the city.
23. She visited her brother in the federal penitentiary.
24. The escape artist made headlines by fleeing the penitentiary.
25. The penitentiary was notorious for its harsh conditions.
26. He studied law while incarcerated in the penitentiary.
27. The penitentiary staff worked tirelessly to maintain order.
28. The old penitentiary was converted into a museum.



prison, community, freedom, liberty


Authority and Order, Chasms and Carnage, Crime and Lawlessness

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