Prisons were part and parcel of the colonial process.
Prisons are understood to be a modern phenomenon, an improvement over colonial punishments like stoning and pressing and hanging and tongue-skewering. But prisons were, in fact, used as punishment in the colonial period, too. And they had the same problems then as they do now: racialized sentences, disproportionate burdens on the poor, and extra danger for female prisoners, etc. This lecture explains how prisons built the colonial state, and how that state is linked to today’s carceral state.