prison


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prison,

place of confinement for the punishment and rehabilitation of criminals. By the end of the 18th cent. imprisonment was the chief mode of punishment for all but capital crimes. At that time, largely as a result of the writings of Cesare BeccariaBeccaria, Cesare Bonesana, marchese di
, 1738–94, Italian criminologist, economist, and jurist, b. Milan. Although of a retiring disposition, he held, in the Austrian government, several public offices, the highest being counselor of state.
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 in Italy and John HowardHoward, John,
1726–90, English prison reformer. He had great influence in improving sanitary conditions and securing humane treatment in prisons throughout Europe. He was responsible (1774) for persuading the House of Commons to enact a set of penal reform acts.
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 and others in England, there was a wave of penal reform and improvement in conditions. The earliest North American reform centered in Philadelphia (1790) and in Auburn, N.Y., where systems of solitary confinement and congregate labor were introduced. These penitentiaries required the prisoners to maintain absolute silence. Reform efforts continued through the 19th cent., with two notable women (Elizabeth FryFry, Elizabeth (Gurney),
1780–1845, English prison reformer and philanthropist. Deeply religious, she was recognized as a minister by the Society of Friends (Quakers).
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 and Dorothea DixDix, Dorothea Lynde,
1802–87, American social reformer, pioneer in the movement for humane treatment of the insane, b. Hampden, Maine. For many years she ran a school in Boston. In 1841 she visited a jail in East Cambridge, Mass.
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) among the reformers. British and Irish influences led to the practice of parole.

In the 20th cent. efforts were made in the United States to eliminate unsanitary and demoralizing prison conditions. Reforms included the individualization of treatment, psychiatric assistance, constructive labor and vocational training (see convict laborconvict labor,
work of prison inmates. Until the 19th cent., labor was introduced in prisons chiefly as punishment. Such work is now considered a necessary part of the rehabilitation of the criminal; it is also used to keep discipline and reduce the costs of prison maintenance.
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), professionalization of correctional officers, and the introduction of work release programs. In some places, however, corporal punishmentcorporal punishment,
physical chastisement of an offender. At one extreme it includes the death penalty (see capital punishment), but the term usually refers to punishments like flogging, caning, mutilation, and branding. Until c.
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 is still used. Until the late 1970s, there was a growing tendency to regard the basic aim of imprisonment as rehabilitation of the criminal rather than as punishment or protection of society. That trend, however, has been reversed. Correspondingly the length of sentences has been extended, and the number of inmates increased substantially. From 1980 to 1990, the nation's federal and state prison population increased by 134% to 771,243 persons; by 2000 it was 1,381,892 persons, a 79% increase from 1990. From 1970 to 2000 the number of state inmates alone increased 500%. By 2005 the prison population appeared to be growing more slowly; some 1,446,269 persons were in federal and state prisons, only a 4.6% increase from 2000, due mainly to a slowing in the growth of the state prison population. Prison population peaked at 1,615,487 inmates in 2009; since then it has gradually decreased. In 2005 an additional 874,090 persons were in local jails and other facilities; the local inmate population increased by 20% from 2000 to 2005. The increase in the number of inmates contributed to a fall in the crime rate, but increased sentences and other penalties appear not to have acted as a deterrent to crime among released inmates, who have become slightly more likely to be rearrested on average.

The chief types of prisons in the United States (with similar institutions in other countries) are the local jail, for pretrial detention and short sentences, and the state and federal penitentiaries, for convicts with long sentences. Special penal institutions are provided for juveniles, the sick, and the criminally insane. The rapid increase in prison population has led some U.S. jurisdictions to explore letting private contractors operate prisons. These private prisons increased from one or two in the mid-1980s to more than 150 by the end of the century. Some of these institutions proved problematic, often because they were not subject to government regulation or because they took in out-of-state prisoners. Juvenile delinquents are usually sent to reformatories or other correctional institutions. In the face of growing U.S. youth crime from the 1970s to the 90s, military-style "boot camps" for juvenile offenders were widely instituted. Many of these were subsequently criticized for brutality and high recidivist rates, and some were scaled back or closed. Among famous prisons in history are the BastilleBastille
[O.Fr.,=fortress], fortress and state prison in Paris, located, until its demolition (started in 1789), near the site of the present Place de la Bastille. It was begun c.1369 by Hugh Aubriot, provost of the merchants [mayor] of Paris under King Charles V.
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 in Paris and the Tower of LondonTower of London,
ancient fortress in London, England, just east of the City and on the north bank of the Thames, covering about 13 acres (5.3 hectares). Now used mainly as a museum, it was a royal residence in the Middle Ages. Later it was a jail for illustrious prisoners.
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. In the United States, Sing Sing (see OssiningOssining
, village (1990 pop. 22,582), Westchester co., SE N.Y., on the Hudson River; settled c.1750, inc. 1813 as Sing Sing, renamed 1901. Mainly residential, Ossining produces medical instruments and pharmaceuticals.
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) and AlcatrazAlcatraz
[Sp. Álcatraces=pelicans], rocky island in San Francisco Bay, W Calif, about one mile (1.61 km) north of San Francisco. Alcatraz was first sighted by the Spanish in 1772 (and possibly three years earlier).
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 (now closed) are the two best known.

Bibliography

See D. J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum (1971) and Conscience and Convenience (1980); M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish (tr. 1979); D. C. Anderson, Crimes of Justice (1988) and Sensible Justice (1998); E. Currie, Crime and Punishment in America (1998); B. Western, Punishment and Inequality in America (2006); G. C. Loury et al., Race, Incarceration, and American Values (2008).

Prison

A place where persons convicted or accused of crimes are confined.

Prison

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Prison is an obsolete term for fall (when a planet is in a sign opposite the sign of its exaltation).

Prison

 

a place of confinement for persons sentenced to the penalty of deprivation of freedom. Prisons are also used for the detention of persons under investigation.

While incarceration—in dungeons, for example—has been practiced since earliest antiquity, the modern bourgeois prison system came into being with the establishment of capitalism; previously, under the slaveholding or feudal system, the usual punishment was mutilation or, alternatively, compensation for damages in the form of an equivalent amount of property. The practice of incarceration in a dungeon or fortified enclosure or tower was relatively rare. More commonly, deprivation of freedom took the form of a term of penal servitude, which consisted of such hard labor as mining, road construction, or rowing on galleys.

Prisons were first used for confinement in Europe in the 16th century (a prison called Tuchthuis was founded in the Netherlands in 1595). The original purpose of isolation by imprisonment was to deter criminals and render them harmless. With the growth of the prison population, men were separated from women and adult convicts from minors; prisoners were also separated according to the type of crime committed and the length of sentence.

A special discipline has been developed in bourgeois criminal law—namely, penology, which includes the study of prison systems and such aspects of imprisonment as its effect on criminals. Over time, the penalty of imprisonment has changed in its institutional forms and conditions, as represented by the various existing penitentiary and prison systems. In the modern capitalist countries, the penalty of deprivation of freedom predominantly takes the form of confinement in prison.

In the USSR, persons sentenced to deprivation of freedom customarily serve their terms in correctional labor colonies.

REFERENCES

Utevskii, B. S. Istoriia ugolovnogo prava burzhuaznykh gosudarstv. Moscow, 1950.
Gernet, M. N. Istoriia tsarskoi tiur’my, vols. 1–5. 3rd ed. Moscow, 1960–63.

What does it mean when you dream about prison?

See Jail/Jailor.

prison

a public building used to house convicted criminals and accused persons remanded in custody and awaiting trial
www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/link_bottom.asp?#Sixth
www.homeoffice.gov.uk/justice/prisons/index.html
www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/rel/icps/home.html
References in classic literature ?
There were two prison cells, and neither had space left on walls or ceiling for another name or portrait or picture.
It might have cost me more than I could afford, anyway; for one of those prison tables, which was at the time in a private museum in Heidelberg, was afterward sold at auction for two hundred and fifty dollars.
Ozma thinks that one who has committed a fault did so because he was not strong and brave; therefore she puts him in prison to make him strong and brave.
If the reader desires to make acquaintance with the associates of my captivity, I must refer him to "Scenes of Modern Prison Life," by Thersites Junior, now doubtless extremely scarce, but producible to the demands of patience and perseverance, I should imagine, if anybody will be so obliging as to pass a week or so over the catalogue of the British Museum.
He was in the prime of life, but very bald--had been in the army and the coal trade--wore very stiff collars and prodigiously long wristbands--seldom laughed, but talked with remarkable glibness, and was never known to lose his temper under the most aggravating circumstances of prison existence.
he exclaimed, with that bantering tone which is peculiar to men of his profession; "be easy, gentlemen, my soldiers will not fire a shot; but, on the other hand, you will not advance by one step towards the prison.
John de Witt, indeed, had alighted from his coach with his servant, and quietly walked across the courtyard of the prison.
Nearly all the inmates of the prison had assembled to witness its removal; they fell back on either side when the widower appeared; he walked hurriedly forward, and stationed himself, alone, in a little railed area close to the lodge gate, from whence the crowd, with an instinctive feeling of delicacy, had retired.
I did not awaken him, for sleep in prison is such a priceless boon that I have seen men transformed into raging brutes when robbed by one of their fellow-prisoners of a few precious moments of it.
Great pieces of blazing wood were passed, besides, above the people's heads to such as stood about the ladders, and some of these, climbing up to the topmost stave, and holding on with one hand by the prison wall, exerted all their skill and force to cast these fire-brands on the roof, or down into the yards within.
A few passers turned their heads, and a few shook their fingers at him as an aristocrat; otherwise, that a man in good clothes should be going to prison, was no more remarkable than that a labourer in working clothes should be going to work.
During this time, Ardan, not being able to keep still, turned in his narrow prison like a wild beast in a cage, chatting with his friends, speaking to the dogs Diana and Satellite, to whom, as may be seen, he had given significant names.