I’m currently reading and enjoying Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Taken from Wikipedia is the summary/main information:
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison is a book written by the philosopher Michel Foucault. Originally published in 1975 in France under the title Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la Prison, it was translated into English in 1977. It is an examination of the social and theoretical mechanisms behind the massive changes that occurred in western penal systems during the modern age. It focuses on historical documents from France, but the issues it examines are relevant to every modern western society. It is considered a seminal work, and has influenced many theorists and artists.
Foucault challenges the commonly accepted idea that the prison became the consistent form of punishment due to humanitarian concerns of reformists, although he does not deny those. He does so by meticulously tracing out the shifts in culture that led to the prison’s dominance, focusing on the body and questions of power. Prison is a form used by the “disciplines”, a new technological power, which can also be found, according to Foucault, in schools, hospitals, military barracks, etc. The main ideas of Discipline and Punishcan be grouped according to its four parts: torture, punishment, discipline and prison.