chapter  1
Introduction – Governors and the prison system
Pages 13

The prison is an instrument of punishment, which constitutes the ‘darkest region in the apparatus of justice’ (Foucault 1979: 256). Despite calls for decarceration, tougher community penalties and greater social inclusion, the prison continues to occupy a central position in our criminal justice system as these commentators point out: ‘the prison as an instrument of punishment has escalated further in importance, and solidified its position’ (Mathieson 2000: 173); ‘So successful has the prison been that, after a century and a half of ‘‘failures’’, the prison still exists, producing the same results, and there is the greatest reluctance to dispense with it’ (Foucault 1979: 277).