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Punishment Devices

Looking at punishment devices from past centuries, I’d say today’s criminals are coddled. Years ago, criminals might find themselves manacled to a punishment tree, fitted with a scold’s bridle, or positioned beneath a guillotine. Hard labor ranged from stone breaking to working the treadmill at Beaumaris, essentially serving as a human water pump. Noncompliant criminals might find themselves in a whipping room or a dark cell (solitary confinement in the dark). In contrast, lenient jailors might resort to silent monitors, restraint jackets, or simply handcuffs and leg irons.

Prison diets were rather barbaric too. In the 1800s, the menu consisted of bread; potatoes; gruel, which  contained up to two ounces of oatmeal per pint; and scouce, a meat stew comprising nine pounds of beef pieces to 90 pounds of potatoes.

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