The House of Inspection

LONG AGO A PRISON WAS DESIGNED, the Panopticon. Prisoners would be isolated in separate cells that were organized like a stack of rings around a central tower. By special devices, the inspector in the tower would be able to see each prisoner but the prisoners would not be able to see the inspector. The prisoners could never be certain whether they were being watched or nor. This combination of isolation and the sense of being observed was to lead to moral reflection and rehabilitation. Versions of the Panopticon were constructed from time to time; the most uncompromising was the experimental women’s prison at A–.