Shades of the Prison House explores the history of imprisonment in the British Isles from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. Over the centuries, prisons - from castle dungeons to 'lockups' to 'penitentiaries' to gaols - have changed radically in name, conditions, attributes and functions, as well as in their character and rationale. Prisons have served many aims: detention, deterrence, punishment, reformation and rehabilitation, all in varying degrees. Yet while prisons and their purposes have been transformed, the same debates on imprisonment have continually recurred. Concerns about overcrowding and over-pampering, security and safety have been expressed from the very beginning, and modern notions that prison might serve a purpose other than containment or punishment were espoused long before the eighteenth century.