18th Century DungeonPosted on December 5th, 2010 No comments
Prisons have been used throughout the centuries as a place to keep a criminal secured after being convicted of a crime. The word prison has its origins in the Latin word, prehensio, meaning seizure. They have been used as holding places for pre-trials and as dungeons, torture chambers for convicts. Prisons have always been regarded as a necessary part of keeping the peace in a society.
Prisoners had to endure some of the worst human conditions throughout the medieval period. They were left starving and thirsty for as long as the guards felt necessary. They were chained to walls or left in squalid holes. Their beds, if any, were rotting piles of straw. Rats and insects took over every crevice of their living space as well as their bodies. Prison beatings and abandonment were also common occurrences.
History has shown us that human beings are not kind individuals all of the time. Simple imprisonment and never-ending hard work were not good enough a life sentence for some criminals, so torture was instituted into many prisons. Some methods of torture included mutilation, constant physical pain, exile and slavery. The masters of the prisons, although they rarely actually carried out these duties themselves, thought them necessary to make life in prison less of a holiday.
Often, the prisoners were innocent, framed by neighbors or creditors. They were often blamed for having unpaid debts, which once in prison, they could not repay and so remained in prison their entire lives. This created a never-ending spiral of debtors being forced in jail because a family member could not fulfill their debt. They lived in the horrible conditions as a result of a misunderstanding, or simply because they were related to a prisoner. In June of 1215, the Magna Carta was created in order to eliminate the corrupt from imprisoning the innocent, but it was not strictly followed or enforced.
Freedom after prison was a very rare occurrence in this time period. Even if found innocent, the masters of prisons did not make it a priority to release the individual. Most died of starvation, disease or as a result of the torture they endured.Hand and Leg Cuffs, Locks and Keys, Medieval Times bastille, confinement, dungeon, imprsionment, jail, keep, lockup, penal institution, penitentiary, priseoners, Prison, reformatory, slammer
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