Corporal Or Psychological Punishment? A Comparison Between Newgate Prison As Described In Contemporary Images And In Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders And Jeremy Bentham’s Model For The Panopticon, Maria-Gloria Simpson
This article deals with the effects that the material shape of a prison and its system of punishment may have on offenders and touches on the role that art can play within a given society by denouncing or highlighting inhumane or corrupt procedures, thus putting in motion social and political reforms. As a case study Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon will be compared with Newgate Prison, as described in images of the period and in Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, with a view to examining its potential implications for prisoners as a result of an increased institutional exercise of power and control. Although never built as a prison in England, over time the Panopticon offered an architectural blueprint for other institutional buildings such as hospitals, schools, factories and asylums in Britain and abroad.