Background of Jails
Criminals need to be confined as a way of punishment or until corporal or capital punishment is administered. In the times of the Old Testament, prisons were used as detention in Jerusalem. Prisoners were held in dungeons and there were things like debtor’s prisons where debtors were thrown until they paid their jailers money as a form of exchange for a limited freedom.
Prisons and jails as we know them today only started to arise in the 19th century. In London, the modern prison system was born in that jail time is seen as part of their punishment as well as a holding state until trial or hanging. Britain practiced transportation of criminals to a penal colony in the British colonies in the Americas from 1610 to 1770s, the time of the American Revolution.
Convicted criminals were then transported to penal colonies in Australia between the years of 1788 to 1868. France sent criminals to the tropical penal colonies which included Louisiana in the 18th century. The Katorga prisons were established around the 17th century in Russia where under populated areas with few towns and food sources like Siberia and the Russian Far East were used.
Then in the early 19th century, the first modern prisons came about and were called penitentiaries. As the name denotes, penance by the prisoners was the goal. They reached this goal with a regimen of strict disciplines and silent reflections. It might also include forced or deliberately pointless labor on the treadwheels. The late 19th century prisons reached a goal of rehabilitation through education and skilled labor.