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Prisons: History

Early Jails And Workhouses

Prisons have existed in human society for thousands of years. A prison is any institution or device that holds a captive in custody. Among the most common types are jails, or closed structures that detain persons for shorter periods, often while they await trial, and state prisons or penitentiaries that hold persons serving sentences for crime. Other forms of imprisonment dating from antiquity have included slavery and involuntary servitude, both as a punishment for crime and as a form of exploitation. For as long as wars have occurred, some vanquished persons usually have been held as captives instead of being killed. American history has included all of these forms of imprisonment and more. Prisons have not simply been used as a recent punishment for crime.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawPrisons: History - Early Jails And Workhouses, The Rise Of The Prisoner Trade, A Land Of Prisoners, Enlightenment Reforms