No one wants to be imprisoned–genuinely imprisoned–against their will. But not all confines are made equal, and the potential associated horrors can vary greatly.
In this episode, I start by examining the famous quote, “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” which, so far as I can tell, Dostoevsky never actually wrote. In fact, this quote’s origin appears to be untraceable, as though it’s an ancient axiom that’s been around since shortly after prisons were invented. As I reference in the episode, it’s a sensible statement that nonetheless can be deployed as a self-serving one that “justifies” viewing and treating rivals as collectively “lesser.”
Still, barbaric treatment of someone held captive, whether at a government or individual level, is typically indicative of a darkness deserving of scorn and a healthy fear. Sometimes, said barbarism is proactively produced by the jail. Sometimes it’s the product of one’s fellow prisoners. Other times, the prison environment itself is inherently inhumane.
In this episode I cover an assortment of frightening prison situations, before settling into the subjects of two works: the lesser-known 60’s film Lady in a Cage, starring Olivia de Havilland and James Caan, and the horror video game The Suffering.