The Birth of Europe's Punishment System Essay by JPWrite

The Birth of Europe's Punishment System
This paper examines the development of the punishment and justice system in Europe as detailed in Michael Foucault's "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison."
# 66821 | 1,007 words | 1 source | MLA | 2006 | US

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This paper reviews the landmark book "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison," written by French philosopher Michel Foucault which explores the development of punishment in Europe. This fact-filled paper details and describes the stages of public torture used in 18th century Europe as well as the more modern incarceration techniques, some of which are still in use today. This paper discusses the system of old monarchical law in which the body of the criminal belonged to the sovereign and torture and public execution were frequently used. The goal of the prison system was, and still is, to reform criminals by way of physical and behavior modification which is forced upon them behind prison walls.

From the Paper:

"Both the old monarchical system of punishment and the newer system of incarceration relied upon coercion. The old monarchical system was obviously coercive, since punishment was public and severe. The sovereign had possession of the convict's body; the state could therefore do as it saw fit. Similarly, the prison system was coercive since it forced prisoners to abide by extremely rigid schedules. Prisoners had set wake-up times, set work times, set meals times. Within the system, there were punishments for deviating from the routine. The gentle way in punishment, however, attempted to be not coercive, but persuasive. There were several ways in which the gentle way in punishment attempts to be persuasive. One way was through the lack of arbitrariness of punishment. Punishment must be seen as being inseparably linked to the particular crime."

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