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Presidio Modelo was a former “model prison" of Panopticon design, located on the Isla de la Juventud in Cuba, built between 1926 and 1931, during the repressive regime of Gerardo Machado.

The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched. Modeled after the notorious penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois, Presidio Modelo was considered the definitive example of efficient design, as up to six thousand prisoners could be watched and controlled with a minimum of staff, but it soon became infamous for unprecedented levels of corruption and cruelty.

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.


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