A prison is a facility maintained for the confinement of convicted felons Until the l8th century, exile, execution, and various forms of corporal punishment were the most common penalties for criminal acts. Although jails were commonplace, imprisonment was viewed as a temporary ranged from workhouses for debtors (Bridewell in Britain and the Maison in Rome1 which was priarily designed to incarcerate incorrigible boys. Retribution was acknowledged as the prime motivation for official punishment.
Under the influence of the l8th-century Enlightenment, however, the extreme harshness of most punishment was questioned for the first time. attempts were made to fit the severity of the punishment to the severity of the crime, in the belief that the existence of clearly articulated, and just, penalties would act as a deterrent to crime. thus deterrence, rather than retribution, became a leading principle of European penology