Penitentiary Act; Panopticon (280 words)

Historical Context Note



Jermey Bentham, Samuel Bentham and Willey Reveley, Penitentiary Panopticon 1791.

This act, drafted by the noted prison reformer John Howard and the famous jurist Sir William Blackstone, substituted a period of incarceration for many crimes which had previously carried the penalty of death or transportation. It was motivated by the belief that solitary confinement, hard servile labour, and a life governed by petty systematic rules and …

Clark, Robert. "Penitentiary Act; Panopticon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 October 2000
[, accessed 26 October 2016.]