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Bentham's PrisonA Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary$
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Janet Semple

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198273875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198273875.001.0001

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The Panopticon Bill of 1794

The Panopticon Bill of 1794

(p.166) 8 The Panopticon Bill of 1794
Bentham's Prison

Janet Semple

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the issues related to the Panopticon Bill of 1794. Jeremy Bentham spent five months—from October 1793 to February 1794—drafting the Panopticon Bill. There were three possible panopticon statutes that existed in the spring of 1794, which includes the draft act that was eventually enacted and Bentham's own two bills. The original panopticon bill and Bentham's commentaries on it provide valuable information about Bentham's ideas on bureaucracy and an extraordinary prescient discussion on the problems of the administration of welfare. The chapter suggests that Bentham's principles and his practice in the panopticon bill appear irreconcilable, and that his long hidden draft legislation adds another problem to the question about the place of the panopticon in his thought.

Keywords:   Panopticon Bill, Jeremy Bentham, legislation, welfare administration, bureaucracy, statutes

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