Pentonville Prison founded (102 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors


In contrast to the overcrowded, chaotic prison conditions exemplified by Newgate, the new prisons of the Victorian era were to be orderly, utilitarian institutions. Pentonville Prison was influenced by the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, although it does not precisely follow the design of his famous panopticon. It had five radiating wings, and followed a 'separate system', whereby each prisoner had a separate, solitary cell. They were expected to undertake basic manual work while in prison, to recoup some of the costs of housing and feeding them. This model of the solitary and regimented prison system was influential right through the twentieth century.

Editors. "Pentonville Prison founded". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[, accessed 29 April 2017.]

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