A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial by Michael Ignatieff

By Michael Ignatieff

Subtitled "The reformatory within the business Revolution 1750-1850", "A simply degree of soreness" describes the instant in 18th century England whilst the trendy detention center and its ambiguous legacy have been born. In depicting how the whip, the emblem and the gallows - public punishments as soon as intended to cow the unruly negative into passivity - got here to get replaced by means of the "moral administration" of the criminal and the concept that the legal negative could be fascinated by their very own rehabilitation. Michael Ignatieff records the increase of a brand new notion of sophistication relatives and with it a brand new philosophy of punishment, one directed no longer on the physique yet on the brain. "A simply degree of ache" is a hugely atmospheric and compellingly written paintings of social historical past, which has already develop into a vintage research of its topic. For the Penguin variation the writer will offer an afterword in regards to the polemics which the book's first booklet in 1978.

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Extra info for A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750–1850

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To be sure, Clerkenwell was no merry idyll. Women who disobeyed the keeper were chained standing up for twenty-four hours at a stretch. The keeper himself told a Commons committee in 1779 that the magistrates allowed him to administer as many as twenty lashes for disobedience. 71 Moreover he and his turnkeys plucked everyone unmercifully for money while the ragged and exhausted vagrants brought in off the streets by the constables frequently died unattended and unfed on the cold boards of the cells.

Newgate in London was very much the largest, with a capacity in 17 50 of about two hundred inmates. Most of the other jails were considerably smaller. Of the fifty county jails listed in Howard's census, made during the extremely crowded year of 1787, only seven were holding a hundred or more prisoners at the time he visited; eleven were holding between fifty and a hundred, and the thirty-two remaining institutions held fifty or less. Jl in law and each entitled to different privileges. Besides debtors, who were allowed to live with their families and who could not be subjected to coercive discipline, there were felons awaiting trial, usually in irons, but also allowed free run of the prison, unlimited visits, and exemption from labor; those awaiting trial for misdemeanors, rarely in irons, and allowed pretrial privileges; capital convicts awaiting execution or pardon, usually chained in the "condemned cells"; a few felons undergoing sentence of imprisonment; and finally, transports waiting to be shipped off.

From what we know of the French rural police under the ancien regime, this English account was a fanciful exaggeration of both their efficiency and their intrusiveness. 37 Nevertheless, the mythology of the "French police" helped to cast a libertarian glow over the English alternative of public execution. Moreover, the public character of hanging was lauded as a guarantee of the victim's rights. The London magistrates John and Henry Fielding suggested in the 17 50s that "private" executions be conducted within the gates of the prison so that the state could prevent the event from being perverted into a ritual of defiance.

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