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What is the panopticon?

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The Panopticon, the project to create the perfect prison


The Panopticon, the project to create the perfect prison
Much has been discussed throughout the history of what the true role of prisons and whether it should be a place where criminals are rehabilitated through a pedagogical model in which, after a period of imprisonment, can again be part of society or, on the contrary, they apply a repressive control and punishment, through fear, is achieved not re-offending.
thinker Jeremy Bentham of English origin was well known, the end eighteenth century, thanks to the contributions made ​​to improve the way of life of the British, but in jail questions remained a strong supporter of the model and supporting repression perfect way to reintegrate prisoners.
Bentham designed a kind imprisonment to which he named panopticon and whose function was to control from a central tower, all you could do and say inmates from their cells. A 'Big Brother' that could have been lifted directly from the novel '1984 'by George Owell, with the small exception that it had devised 150 years ahead.
The circular building provided a central tower from which 360 could control the prison and in which a sheriff provisions she saw every one of the cells. They had a capacity of one prisoner per cabin, being completely isolated from other inmates by thick and long walls that did not allow contact between them.
Each cell would have exterior window would facilitate the entry of light for a better view from the central tower , where the guard would see it all, being out of sight of the prisoners and not knowing these if controlled at all times or if one or more people in the control tower. A sophisticated pipe-shaped contraption would go to each cell by the guard might whisper at any time of day or night and communicate with the prisoner, making him feel uncomfortable.

The Panopticon, the project to create the perfect prison
Interior of ancient panoptic prison construction in Pine Island, Cuba (Wikimedia Commons)

Bentham was convinced that keeping prisoners to maximum control would make their performance and behavior improve, advising their use in workplaces, universities and all the place in which the vigilance was needed.
Panopticon The model was not developed at that time by which, at that time, King George III was not the work of making the large investment supposed to build new prisons, they behaved excessive spending for the then ailing British economy, because the country had just suffered the setback of the War of Independence of the United States and the subsequent war against Napoleon Bonaparte.
Subsequently, there have been several countries that have adapted their prisons not only to model designed by Jeremy Bentham, but we can find many factories and workplaces whose design is made ​​to control employee productivity, feeling they observed at all times.
Sources consulted: cartome / Wikipedia

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