Just in case you ever get these two
environments mixed up,
this should make things a little bit clearer.
Which Sounds Better?
spend the majority of your time in an 8X10 cell;
spend the majority of your time in a 6X8 cubicle.
get three meals a day;
only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.
get time off for good behavior;
get rewarded for good behavior with more work.
The guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you;
You must carry around a security card and open all the
doors for yourself.
You can watch TV and play
You get fired for watching TV
and playing games.
You get your own toilet;
You have to share
They allow your family and friends to visit;
You can't even speak to your family.
All expenses are paid by
the tax-payers with no work required;
You get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes
from your salary to pay for prisoners.
You spend most of your life
looking through bars from inside wanting to get out.
You spend most of your time
wanting to get out and go inside bars.
There are wardens.
They are called managers.
But cheer up, because....
You have to stay all the time.
You get to go home sometimes.
Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
What is a prison?
A prison, jail, or gaol, is a facility in which individuals are forcibly
confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the
state. The most common use of prisons is as part of an organized
governmental justice system, in which individuals officially charged with
or convicted of crimes are confined to a jail or prison until they are
either brought to trial to determine their guilt or complete the period of
incarceration they were sentenced to after being found guilty at their
trial. Outside of their use for punishing civil crimes, authoritarian
regimes also frequently use prisons and jails as tools of political
repression to punish political crimes, often without trial or other legal
Some Ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato, began to develop ideas of
using punishment to reform offenders instead of simply using it as
retribution. Imprisonment as a penalty was used initially for those who
could not afford to pay their fines. Eventually, since impoverished
Athenians could not pay their fines, leading to indefinite periods of
imprisonment, time limits were set instead. The actual location of the
prison cells is not known.
Romans were among the first to use prisons as a form of punishment, rather
than simply for detention. A variety of existing structures were used to
house prisoners, such as metal cages, basements of public buildings, and
quarries. One of the most notable Roman prisons was the Mamertine Prison,
established around 640 B.C. by Ancus Marcius. The Mamertime Prison was
located within a sewer system beneath ancient Rome, and contained a large
network of dungeons where prisoners were held in squalid conditions,
contaminated with human waste. Forced labor on public works projects was
also a common form of punishment. In many cases, citizens were sentenced
to slavery, often in ergastula (a primitive form of prison where unruly
slaves were chained to workbenches and performed hard labor).
During the Middle Ages in Europe, castles, fortresses, and the basements
of public buildings were often used as makeshift prisons. The possession
of the right and the capability to imprison citizens, however, granted an
air of legitimacy to officials at all levels of government, from kings to
regional courts to city councils; and the ability to have someone
imprisoned or killed served as a signifier of who in society possessed
power or authority over others. Another common punishment was sentencing
people to galley slavery where they were chained together in the bottoms
of ships and forced to row on naval or merchant vessels.
During the 18th century, popular resistance to public execution and
torture became more widespread, and rulers began looking for means to
punish and control their subjects in a way that didn't cause people to
associate them with spectacles of tyrannical and sadistic violence. They
began to look towards developing systems of mass incarceration as a
practiced penal transportation of convicted criminals to penal colonies in
the British Empire, in the Americas from the 1610s through the American
Revolution in the 1770s and in Australia between 1788 and 1868. France
sent criminals to tropical penal colonies including Louisiana in the early
18th century. Penal colonies in French Guiana operated until 1951, such as
the infamous Île du Diable (Devil's Island). Katorga
prisons were harsh work camps established in the 17th century in Russia in
remote under populated areas of Siberia and the Russian Far East that had
few towns or food sources. Siberia quickly gained its fearful connotation
The first prisons in the United States were modeled on Jeremy Bentham's "panopticon"
model, with wings of one-person cells radiating outward from a central
control/surveillance structure. This was later replaced with what was
known as the "Auburn System", where prison cells were placed inside of
rectangular buildings that lent themselves more to large-scale penal
After the unification of Italy in 1861, the parliament reformed the
repressive and arbitrary prison system inherited from the predecessor
absolutist states. The liberal reforms were intended to modernize and
secularize punishment and emphasized discipline and deterrence, the
reforms were not, however, extended to women's prisons, which remained in
the control of Catholic nuns, Italian women's prisons continued to be
modeled on the convent, with its emphasis on moral conversion rather than
educational and vocational training. Italy developed an advanced penology
under the leadership of Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909).
10 Historic and
01. Alcatraz, San
perhaps the most famous prison in the United States, was the first maximum
security minimum privilege prison of the country. Located on a rocky
island surrounded by the freezing water of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was
believed to be inescapable. Today, the island is one of the most
popular tourist attractions in San Francisco.
02. Tower of
Now home to
the British Crown Jewels and one of the top tourist attractions in
England, the Tower of London served as a prison from 1100 to the mid
twentieth century. The Tower of London is reputedly the most haunted
building in England.
03. Devil's Island,
in 1852 under Emperor Napoleon III’s reign, Devil’s Island penal colony is
one of the most infamous prisons in history. During its 94 years of
operation, this historic prison was home to everyone from political
prisoners to hardened criminals.
04. Chateau d'If,
through the end of the 19th century, the chateau served as a dumping
ground for religious and political prisoners. It was demilitarized and
opened to the public in 1890 and is now one of the most famous prisons in
05. Goree Island,
slaves passed through Goree Island in Senegal before France abolished the
slave trade in 1848. The Maison des Esclaves, better known as the House of
Slaves, is just one of the places on the island that held slaves before
they were put on ships bound for the New World. The museum now serves as a
pilgrimage site for many African-Americans tracing their roots.
Island, Cape Town, South Africa
has served many functions over the years, including a leper colony at one
point. However, it’s most known for serving as a prison under the
apartheid regime. Well-known figure Nelson Mandela spent time there as a
political prisoner. Today Robben Island is a popular tourist destination
and can be reached by ferry from Cape Town. The island is an important
breeding area for a large African Penguin colony.
07. Elmina Castle, Ghana
Built in 1492,
Elmina Castle in Ghana is the oldest European building in existence south
of the Sahara. For over three hundred years, it served as a holding area
for people captured against their will to be sold into slavery. It was not
uncommon for slaves to share a cell with as many as 200 others, cramped
together with not even enough space to lie down. By the 18th century, over
30,000 slaves were passing through the Door of No Return each year.
08. Port Arthur,
Port Arthur is
a former convict colony in Tasmania, Australia. From 1833, until the
1850s, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British and
Irish criminals and rebellious inmates from other prisons. Today, many
highly recognizable ruins remain, including the penitentiary, the
hospital, the insane asylum, and a church built by the convicts. In 1996
Port Arthur became the site of Australia’s deadliest gun massacre when a
single shooter opened fire on visitors, killing 35 people.
09. Tuol Sleng Genocide
1975 by the Khmer Rouge Regime from what was once a high school, Tuol
Sleng is probably one of the most horrifying prisons in the world.
Prisoners were routinely tortured in order to compel a confession to
whatever crime they had been charged with. Once they confessed and named
any conspirators, they were then executed. Of the more than 17,000 people
incarcerated of Tuol Sleng in the four years it operated, there are only a
few known survivors. After the Vietnamese army uncovered the prison in
1979 Tuol Sleng was turned in to a historical museum memorializing the
actions of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
10. The Hoa Loa Prison,
The Hoa Loa
Prison (Hanoi Hilton; coined by the American POWs) , was originally built
by the French to house Vietnamese political prisoners. The North
Vietnamese Army later used the prison to house prisoners of war during the
Vietnam War. Prisoners incarcerated there were subject to torture,
starvation, and even murder.
10 World's Worst
Camp 22 Prison, North Korea
ADX Florence Supermax Prison, Colorado, USA
Bang Kwang Central Prison, Thailand
Guantanamo Bay Prison, Cuba
Carandiru Penitentiary Prison, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Diyarbakir Prison, Turkey
La Sabaneta Prison, Venezuela
Tadmor Prison, Syria
Gitarama Prison, Rwanda