The house of correction was a type of establishment built after the passing of the Elizabethan Poor Law (1601), places where those who were "unwilling to work", including vagrants and beggars, were set to work. The building of houses of correction came after the passing of an amendment to the Elizabethan Poor Law. However the houses of correction were not considered a part of the Elizabethan Poor Law system because the Act distinguished between settled poor and wandering poor. Notorious magistrate Allan Laing sent three youths to the house of correction for singing in the streets.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the term remains synonymous with state jails. The same is true for the State of Maryland.