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 ?
The night in prison was novel and interesting enough.
But it always looks up, from a distance, at the prison on the crag; and in the evening, when the work of the day is achieved and it assembles to gossip at the fountain, all faces are turned towards the prison.
I consumed the whole time in thinking how strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of prison and crime; that, in my childhood out on our lonely marshes on a winter evening I should have first encountered it; that, it should have reappeared on two occasions, starting out like a stain that was faded but not gone; that, it should in this new way pervade my fortune and advancement.
So that night, when the moon was shining through the palm-trees and all the King's men were asleep, the parrot slipped out through the bars of the prison and flew across to the palace.
Yes; but one gets out of prison," said Caderousse, who, with what sense was left him, listened eagerly to the conversation, "and when one gets out and one's name is Edmond Dantes, one seeks revenge" --
Nor would it have advantaged me any had they known the exact location of my prison, for who could hope to penetrate to this buried sea in the face of the mighty navy of the First Born?
They soon separated from the Munchkin boy, who was led by the Soldier with the Green Whiskers down a side street toward the prison.
Thus, then, on the 20th of August, 1672, as we have already stated in the beginning of this chapter, the whole town was crowding towards the Buytenhof, to witness the departure of Cornelius de Witt from prison, as he was going to exile; and to see what traces the torture of the rack had left on the noble frame of the man who knew his Horace so well.
Who am I that I should object to being in prison, when so many of the royal personages and illustrious characters of history have been there before me?
Though Ernest lay in prison three thousand miles away, on the Pacific Coast, I was in unbroken communication with him, and our letters passed regularly back and forth.
Other plates, closely fitted, covered the lenticular glasses, and the travelers, hermetically enclosed in their metal prison, were plunged in profound darkness.
Very little time did it take to get poor old Geppetto to prison.