In the beginning when Adam and Eve had free reign in the Garden of Eden the crime rate was quite low by today’s standards. This is likely because there was only one law in the garden. Since life was so good there; you would think this couple could survive without breaking the only law on the books. This however was not the case. God found out that the law was broken and expelled them from the garden. (It should be noted here that although there was only one law, the penalty for breaking it was severe.) This was also, the first known instance of what is called Penal Transportation. It became a favored method of punishment through-out the bible. It wasn’t as messy a chopping off heads or as labor intensive as hanging large groups of people. It continued right up till the late nineteenth century when all the land had been conquered and there was no place to put people you didn’t want. People you didn’t want was exactly what these people were. Political opposition, impoverished, pick pockets and religious variants were all sent away. The Jews of the bible were constantly being sent elsewhere. This is also the first example of a family’s spiral into crime. It went from poaching an apple to fratricide in a short time. Cain killed his brother Able and he too was expelled and told to wander. England used this method of reducing its malcontent, poor and starving population by sending them to America until the start of the American Revolution. The Puritans were considered trouble makers and were granted leave to come here with enthusiasm. Great Briton only stopped sending people to America when they realized they were supplying the colonists with an army of grudge holding people that would gladly fight for the American cause. They next sent them to Australia until the late 1800’s. Finally, Australia said they didn’t need England’s refuse any longer, because they were now capable of growing their own.
In the meantime, Russia had its own unique way of disposing of their headaches. They sent them to Siberia. This is supposedly one of the most inhospitable places on earth. These criminals were put to work in mines for the government. For all we know it still goes on today. America also had its own version of Penal Transportation and moved massive numbers of Cherokees to what was considered useless uninhabitable land. We now call it the “Trail of Tears”. This chapter of American history is now considered an embarrassment. At about the same time, free land was being offered as an incentive to settle the west. It was then that the government changed their minds about transporting criminals and Native Americans to some faraway place. Why should they when people were willing to go out and claim it themselves, at their own expense. Rumor has it that we still have a modified version of this, that is not acknowledged officially, but supposedly still goes on. In this version, homeless vagrants are given a ticket to some city far away to become the problem of that locale rather than filling the shelters and jails at home. Dealing with the people that don’t conform to society, whether we are afraid of them, mad at or tired of dealing with them, has been a problem since Adam and Eve. A satisfactory solution has yet to be found, however Prisons are now the way we do it. Come and take our tour and see and hear the history of how prisons deal and dealt with law breakers in Michigan for 181 years.