The First Jails

The very first jails in England are mandated by the Assize of Clarendon, a set of laws instituted by King Henry II in 1166. Each shire is instructed to establish a gaol to house people who've been picked up for violations. This is not considered punishment; the accused is merely being detained until the court appearance or punishment can take place. Heating, ventilation, and sanitation are poor at best. Overcrowding is customary. Everyone is thrown together: murders and petty thieves, children and adults, men and women. Community members are welcome to come and stare at or taunt the jailed. The accused pay for amenities such as food, clothing, and bedding. If they can't afford it, they go without...

Prisoners Detained  in Chains
Prisoners Detained in Chains 16th century