U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH - THE BIRTH OF THE PRISON

NCJ Number
46780
Author(s)
M FOUCAULT
Date Published
1977
Length
342 pages
Annotation
THE MOVEMENT AWAY FROM TORTURE AND TOWARD INCARCERATION AS PUNISHMENT FOR CRIMINAL CONDUCT IS TRACED FROM ITS ORIGINS IN THE 17TH CENTURY, HIGHLIGHTING THE FRENCH EXPERIENCE.
Abstract
WHY PRESENT-DAY ARGUMENTS ABOUT THE FAILURES OF PENAL INSTITUTIONS ARE IN REALITY AS OLD AS THE MODERN PRISON ITSELF IS EXAMINED, AND THAT THESE FAILURES ARE ACTUALLY AN INHERENT PART OF AN INSTITUTION WHICH NEVER FUNCTIONED TO ELIMINATE CRIMINALS BUT ONLY TO DEFINE, REFINE, AND PERPETUATE CRIME IS DEMONSTRATED. THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURY NOTIONS OF PHYSICAL TORTURE AS PUNISHMENT ARE REVIEWED, AND THE CHANGE IN PENAL ATTITUDE THAT RESULTED IN A LESS PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE SYSTEM OF CONSTRAINTS AND PRIVATIONS IS DISCUSSED. THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF TORTURE ARE REVIEWED FOR BACKGROUND, THEN THE ADOPTION OF GENERALIZED PUNISHMENT AND THE SEEDS OF THE MODERN PENAL INSTITUTION ARE EXAMINED. THE GRADUAL GROWTH OF THE PRISON STRUCTURE IS TRACED; THE PROCESS OF OFFENDER DISTRIBUTION, THE CONTROL OF ACTIVITY, AND THE ORGANIZATION OF SEX-SEGREGATED INCARCERATION IS DISCUSSED. THE RISE OF PANOPTICISM -- THE PRINCIPLE OF INDUCING IN THE INMATE A STATE OF HIS OR HER CONSCIOUS AND PERMANENT VISIBILITY THAT ASSURES THE AUTOMATIC FUNCTIONING OF THE PENAL INSTITUTION'S POWER -- IS DETAILED, AS IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF MEANS BY WHICH STRICT DISCIPLINE IS ACHIEVED AND SUSTAINED; THE ROLES OF AN OBSERVING HIERARCHY, NORMALIZED JUDGMENT, AND JUDGMENTAL EXAMINATIONS ARE CONSIDERED. FINALLY, THE RIGID AND AUSTERE NATURE OF THE PRISON SYSTEM THAT DEVELOPED OUT OF THE MATURATION OF THE CONCEPT OF INCARCERATIVE INSTITUTIONS IS DESCRIBED, AS IS THE EFFECT OF INCARCERATION ON THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF ILLEGALITY AND DELINQUENCY. THE INCEPTION OF THE SYSTEM OF PENAL COLONIES IS REVIEWED, AND THE RESULTS OF TRANSPOSING DEVELOPING INSTITUTIONAL PENAL IDEOLOGY UPON THE SOCIAL FRAMEWORK OF THE PENAL COLONY ARE DOCUMENTED. PLATES ILLUSTRATE THE TEXT. NOTES AND A BIBLIOGRAPHY ARE PROVIDED. THERE IS NO INDEX. (KBL)