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Class 2. The Birth of the Modern Prison and the Role of State Punishment.docx

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Justin Piche

The Birth of the Modern Prison and the Role of State Punishment Overview • Bridge-in Exercise • Locating Punishment within Economic Restructuring (Rusche, 1980[1933]) Early Middle Ages Late Middle Ages Emergence of mercantilism Emergence of capitalism • Locating Punishment within Scientific Discourses (Foucault, 1977[1975]) – Away from public spectacles, towards concealment – Away from the body, towards the soul • Bridge-out Exercise Rusche (1980[1933]) - First to try and place crime and punishment in a social context - Tried to look at why certain punishment practices emerge in certain context – how do we make sense of prisons, where do they come from - When we change punishment practices it is partially explained by the labour patterns and economic structure in given societies - 1. In context of labour surplus (much unemployed) creates a large amount of problems, idle hands, poverty, people needing to find alternative ways to survive, penal sanctions then in these tough times are devised according to the principle of less eligibility as a means of deterance - jail worse than the living conditions in society. When people are presented with these tough sanctions the idea is that it deters people even in these hard times within society (theory) - 2. When we have labour shortages, a market where there are infinite amount of jobs but not enough people to fill them, standards of living increase ($$) penal sanctions are devised to be human, try to cloth and feed and house prisoners in nice conditions so they are healthy enough to do prison labour so the profit is made from them, and it is cheaper than to have an actual worker be trained and paid minimum wage. - Marxists Contribution Guiding Premise To understand shifts in penality we must look beyond the causes of ‘crime’ and situate punishment practices within the social contexts in which they emerge Research Question How do changes in the economic structures of given societies impact penal sanctions? Theory In contexts of labour surpluses and related societal unrest, penal sanctions are devised according to the principle of less eligibility as a means of deterrence In contexts of labour shortages and increased living standards, penal sanctions are devised to be ‘humane’ and generate wealth to deflate general living standards Early Middle Ages Population Thin Labour Subsistence economy Wealth Distribution Relatively even with access to land Frequency of ‘Crime’ Infrequent Types of ‘Crime’ Violent ‘Crime Control’ Objectives Reconciliat
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