The prison in economics: private and public incarceration in Ancient Greece
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- D’Amico, D.J. Public Choice (2010) 145: 461. doi:10.1007/s11127-009-9575-z
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Recent histories of Ancient Greece describe a transition from customary law to public criminal justice between 800 and 400 B.C. This narrative contains three pieces of evidence against the presumption that prisons are a public good and government must provide incarcerations. First, before the rise of a formal government, Ancient Greece had a functioning system of criminal law enforcement. Second, the timeline surrounding the rise of government institutions in Ancient Greece originated with Solon’s penal reforms. Lastly, the rise of a government system was more the result of private rather than public interest.