My friend in Dublin lives next to Aubourn Prison.
A short walk past leads to the old Kilmainham Jail. It closed in the 1920s and stands today as a museum, but less to prisons than to the "Heroes of 1918" and Irish independence. Suffice it to say my knowledge of Irish history is a bit thin up top. 1918? Revolution? Civil War? Indeeeeed...
But I was keen to go to this prison because it claims to feature a Panopticon.
Actually it's not a Panopticon because it's not, well, round with a centrally located guard post designed to provide constant potential surveillance inside each prison cell....
But Kilmainham Gaol was, with its multi-tiered layout, inspired by Bentham's evil concept. And the architecture is cool.
C.S. Parnell testified at the Royal Commission on Prisons in Ireland:
One thing that struck me in Kilmainham was the semi-starved aspect which all the convicted prisoners presented. They seemed to be utterly dejected and weak, and unable to undergo any amount of physical fatigue.... I do not think that we are entitled to enfeeble the bodies of prisoners in order to reform their minds, or with a view of maintaining discipline amongst them.Unlike contemporaneous American penitentiaries like Auburn and Sing Sing (which, unlike Kilmainham, are still operational), Kilmainham's cells didn't have plumbing. So prisoners in Ireland had to "slop out." Even more amazing, today, in 2011, the practice of slopping out is still practiced in at least one Irish prison.
Meanwhile, from the museum at Kilmainham, I'm always a sucker for revolutionary propaganda.
Johnny-come-lately lately Republicans:
And Irish Mothers, Do You Want Your Children Kidnapped?:
on the Batter."
Beware of the Risen People.