Foucult (1977: 78-82), expressed that the birth and development of prisons was not just a legal development, or a mere sign of increased civilization. According to Foucult, the birth of prisons was a contingent and complex creation that involved religious, architecture and cultures that were linked to penal practices, and the legal practices of the ancient traditions that applied punitive incarceration, which in effect lead to restructuring of urban space that was influenced by the new attitudes on the social marginals.
As a result, the image of prisons developed as part of the urban landscape and important figures of independence. According to Ignatieff (1978: 345-347), the foundation of the prisons initially lied on the communes’ need to ensure security in the cities, improve courts’ efficiency, and ensure security for business operations. This was indeed a response from the attitudes that were changing from the ejecting view of the prisoners, to containing the deviants. The early periods of 1770 century, and 1880 century however had many prisoners decrying about the state of the local prisons.
Briggs (1996: 54) expresses that, the 1770 century experienced more than 60 prisoners dying in a period of less than two years due to neglect and the terrible conditions in prison. The appellants had appeared in court demanding for a facility that would help to separate perpetrators who had committed major offenses from those who had been convicted for minor offenses, and those who had been retained in prison for debt. This plea was accepted by the courts, and the commune responded by purchasing the properties that would enable to restructure the prisons so as to improve the living standards for the prisoners.
Construction of the new prisons was a great development. It marked the end of local custodial subjects in various rental aristocratic tori since the 13th and 14th century. According to Emsley (1996), the new structure was meant to make it easy for the magistrates to differentiate the various categories of the prisoners, enable efficient processing for the inmates, and enhance the living condition for the prisoners. All these objectives were considered imperative due to the fact that, prisoners at that period were increasing day by day, and their incarceration duration was prolonged than ever before.
However, the action taken linked very well with communal palace, this was one of the clear show of city transition coming from a polycentric oligarchy heading to a regime of centralized communal. Briggs (1996: 204) stated that, the need to enforce social control led to the erection of prisons at the cities across Western Europe. This move reflected a move from contemporary attitude to the view of the social marginals, commonly referred to as a development form the expulsion regime towards the containment.
The strategy worked effectively in the urban regions of Wester Europe, such as Northern and Central Italy. This strategy was adopted by the federal states and other states of the world. Under this system, the local governments established mechanisms for controlling social order in an improved way. As opposed to the old culture of eliminating the religious and social deviants, or use of physical annihilate, the new system advocated for marginalized institutions such as hospitals, leper-houses or the Jewish quarters.
The development of municipally central prisons was one of the expressions for attaining social control, though it came up later. By the early 1880s, the need to improve the conditions of the prisoners by the scores of the federal states, rural strongholds and capitals established improved prison facilities and used them as punitive form of institutions, for detaining culprits. The institutions also served the traditional role as custody places. For instance, the places served the purpose of coercion and pretrial arrest like the debtors prisons and the torture chambers.
In its quantitative scale and geographical scope, the result of incarceration was unprecedented prior to the 81th century. This period marked great development of penology, where a step was made to include imprisonment as part of the European penology. Both the physical counterpart and the measure were closely integrated into the judicial administrations around the 18th century (Foucult, 1977). One of the major factors leading to the creation and development of modern prisons as mentioned earlier is the need for advancing civilization.
The communes had the desire to understand the culture and surrounding society in order to determine the appropriate way to deal with criminals. This necessitated the need to come up with restructured institutions, where the criminals would be studied, as opposed to the approach of eradicating religious and social deviants by use of crude methods, such as killing. There was the need to improve the image of the then existing prisons which were faced by challenges of poor human fabrics of the institutions, and the relationship among other institutions related to the prisons.
The period between 1770s and 1840s had challenges of administrative and legal roles of the prisons. Specifically, In regard to the location of the medieval cities. For example, a major factor in alleviating the conditions of the inmates was the common human traffic passing through the gates of the prisons, at times the traffic would go through the prison windows or the walls. Prisoners often moved up and down the cities as beggars who were licensed, as criminals heading to the courts, and as debtors searching for ways to settle their debts.
The other problem was the increased number of inmates in the city during festive releases, occasional riotous break ins, and triumph amnesty. Most of these events took place during political turmoil. According to Ignatieff (1978: 74), the prisons experienced a lot of interference form the increased number of incomers such as prison administrators, prison guards, physicians, lawyers, service men, local priests, religious and lay friars, court magistrates, confraternity members, and family members coming to bring their kin provisions.
The accessibility and location of the prisons meant that the prisoners were still not separated from the urban life and the objectives of sentencing the inmates would therefore not be effective. The limit of inmates’ freedom did not succeed in turning the prisoners to reformed people, having been stripped from social ties and identity. With all the above challenges, there was need to improve the prison facilities and location so as to deal with the major problems that faced the prisons.
State governments had to purchase property outside the urban centers, so as to reduce the interference of inmates from the outside world. Ignatieff (1978: 207-212), expressed that, the structure of prisons were improved to ensure security. The walls were structured in a way that the prisoners would not easily get out of prison through the walls, and people from outside would also not get inside without legal authorization. The internal facility was also restructured, and the prisoners were not allowed to get into direct contact with outsiders who visited the prisons.
Another improvement was the employment of high trained prison administrators and guards, and improvement of security measures for restraining inmates. Following these measures, the living conditions for the prisoners were improved, where they were to be provided with food, clothing and any other basic need to avoid roaming in the city as baggers. These measures were meant to enhance security in the cities and an effective method of rehabilitating the inmates. According to Dirk, & Smit (2001: 245-251), there was the need to delineate the various processes that took place in prisons.
This made the medieval societies to develop new practices of punitive form of imprisonment. This approach worked against the jurisprudence contemporary view. The result was the development of alternative structures to ensure security for the prisons, specifically in the urban areas. The new facilities in prisons have however been politicized over time as tools for power. They are embedded in their social aspects of citizenship, sovereignty, and justice. The better developed the facilities in prison, the more empowered a state was considered.
The concern and the behavior of the inmates is considered as a factor that lead to the shaping of the modern prisons. Studies have shown that, the behavior of prisoners and their concerns have played a big role to determine how the structure of the modern prisons are like. Inmates respond well where the structure of the prison is appropriate. The concern of the inmates mainly is that the living conditions are suitable for their survival, and good treatment from the prison guards and authorities.
Inmates have on several occasions rioted or made appeals to court, where their standards of living are so poor. This necessitated restructuring of the prison facilities and conditions, in order to ensure a peaceful environment for punishing and rehabilitating prisoners. Studies have shown that, the geographical focus, time frame and methodology adopted by the medieval regime in relation to the behavior and response of inmates in the 1770 century and 1840 century had a great impact on the type of prison facilities that were adopted.
It has been argued that, all the attempts were meant to ensure that security is attained in the society, that the old culture of eradicating prisoners was done away with, and to ensure that, the prisoners were sentenced for purposes of punishment and reformation. With this in mind, prisons were restructured to ensure improvement for the standards of living for the inmates (Briggs, 1996). From the above analysis, various factors contributed to the creation and shaping of prisons in the 1770 and 1840 centuries.
Among them is the need to offer security in various cities, the need for social control, and improving the condition of living for the prisoners. Other factors such as the behavior and concerns of the inmates, the geographical scope and time factor have contributed to shaping the creation of modern prisons. Word Count: 1,636. References Briggs, J. (1996). Crime and Punishment in England. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Dirk, V. , & Smit, F. (2001). Imprisonment Today and Tomorrow: International Perspectives on Prisoners’ Rights and Prison Conditions.
Published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. EmsleyEmsley, C. (1996). Crime and society in England 1750-1900 (2nd edition) ch 10. London: Logman Publishers. Foucult, M. (1977). Discipline and Punishment. Hetfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf Publishers. Godfrey, B. , & Lawrence, P. (2005). Crime & Justice 1750-1950, ch 5 Ignatieff, M. (1978). A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution. New York. Mackenzie, S. (1978). ”A Torrent of Abuse’; Crimes of Violence between Working Class Men and Women in London, 1840-1875,’ Journal of Social History, 1978.