Discipline and Punish the Birth of Prsions

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“Discipline and Punish the Birth of Prisons” goes beyond the walls of the prison system. Foucault gives a detailed description of the transition of discipline and punishment beginning in the seventeenth century. Foucault begins with insight into the tortures forms of punishment common in the seventeenth century. The torture involved prisoners being placed on a scaffold while holding a two pound torch of burning wax. There the flesh would be torn from their body with hot pincers before their bodies were quartered by four horses attached to each limb. The seventeenth century was a period of time when public executions were common place and physical torture was the primary means used to force confessions from the accused. The seventeenth century torture period was based on the premise that the display of public torture and public executions would lead to a level of fear that would detour others from committing crimes. The gruesome display was to be so feared that no one would dare want to endure this experience first-hand. Torture was an affective coercive tool getting the accused to confess to a crime. If the accused was able to withstand the torture placed upon him, he could be considered innocent of the crime of which he was accused. Actual guilt or innocence was not relevant as a guilty man could sometimes withstand higher levels of torture without confessing while innocent men would sometimes confess to crimes that they did not commit to put an end to their

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