Punishment as a notion is as old as humanity, referring to religious sacred books. Even though during the XVII century or a little bit earlier came into active action some movements and organizations, mostly secret ones like masons and their derivates, which made possible the secular world in which we are leaving, could not ignore the religion punishment tradition or otherwise considered dogma. Therefore, as a kind of punishment, prison remained an active activity of human life, and still continues.
As the irreligionization of the modern world brought forth a wide range of philosophies and ideologies, none of them saw prison as an ineffective, let alone barbaric, punishment. In fact, the most important eminent and successful of these ideologies saw prison ineffective in the other way; it was not enough – capital punishment was the one. To mention, off course, would be Communism and Fascism along with their modified interpretations, whose results are still being suffered. As long as Capitalism is concerned, which brought nothing new to the world expect the merge of private ownership with secularity, is milder compared with its two big brothers but still does not ignore prison as punishment and in some parts still supports capital punishment. Even though the world has been reshaped transfigureingly differently of what it used to be, prison still endures change mechanisms.
To better understand the role of prison in human social living, it is necessary to have a look at the function of punishment in the same contest. Punishment, religiously speaking, has had and still holds three major functions: as a way of putting things right – namely justice, as a way of preserving human normal life flow – namely security, and as a way of educating healthy social behavior – namely education. Prison, as a branch of punishment tree, takes strong hold of these three composing aspects.
But, what is prison itself? In the theocratic states, especially Islamic ones, prison stands out as a punishment when there is no fixed punishment for a unsocial behavior. This makes prison acquire all the features of any other kind of punishment and fulfill its role in a different situation. In secular states, prison has, in the major cases, substituted religious rulings of the same criminal or unsocial contects. Therefore, not being ignored, prison has been found either effective or not yet has been found a proper subsistent to better fulfill its role.
As not yet has there been found an other way of fulfilling the rule of punishment in society, and it is most likely to never happen, prison will remain an effective and educative punishment as any other. The only thing to bear in mind is to apply it were necessary and proper and not on arbitrary bases.