The Panopticon, Under The Carceral System

1696 Words 7 Pages
Over time, the logics of social control and punishment have transformed dramatically and are designed to be effective based on the overall structure of society. During the ancient regime, society was under a feudal system controlled by the monarchy who used fear, torture, and public executions to keep citizens submissive. Accompanying the transition of the logics of punishment under the ancient regime to those introduced by the reformers is the new form of control through the use of discipline and punishment to produce productive members of society and to rehabilitate those who do not conform to societal expectations. In contrast to the methods introduced by the reformers, the carceral system now uses the prison, modeled by the panopticon, …show more content…
The panopticon, which was an architectural design introduced by Bentham, provided a model of complete surveillance by creating a situation in which individuals know that they are constantly being watched, but they are unable to know who or when someone is watching. While it creates an automatic type of order, surveillance is how the government obtains its power to punish because it is easier to control through knowledge of the individuals’ backgrounds, circumstances, and reasons for committing crime. The main focus of punishment has also shifted back from rehabilitative model to a retributive model where individuals who commit crime are punished with certainty (mandatory minimum sentencing laws) and locked away from the rest of society. Thus, this system of control now serves as a maintenance of deviance as society no longer relies upon experts to determine the causes of criminality or to figure out how to deter crime. Society now treats inmates the same way as lepers exiled from …show more content…
In prison, all inmates are put together in units, regardless of their crimes, ages, or mindsets. This allows younger, more inexperienced inmates to communicate with older career criminals who teach them different ways to commit and get away with crime, thereby creating a social network of criminality. Not only do inmates learn from one another, but the penitentiary itself also produces delinquents as punishments are often not adapted to individual circumstances. If an individual is sentenced to a long time in prison because of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, they be required to serve the entire thing regardless of their rehabilitative progress. In the carceral system, offenders are also denied access to meaningful education or training and are instead forced to work in meaningless jobs created at a low cost to profit corporations. When these inmates are released from prison, it is extremely difficult for them to find work and they revert to criminality to survive. Most prisoners are also given little to no assistance once they are released from prison other than the surveillance provided by probation officers that only ensures that they follow their parole conditions. Thus, the carceral system undermines the seven universal maxims by actually producing

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