My hypothesis is that the prison was linked from its beginning to a project for the transformation of individuals. People tend to suppose that the prison was a kind of refuse-dump for criminals, a dump whose disadvantages became apparent during use, giving rise to the conviction that the prisons must be reformed and made into means of transforming individuals. But this is not true: such texts, programmes, and statements of intention were there from the beginning. The prison was meant to be an instrument comparable with- and no less perfect than- the school, the barracks, or the hospital, acting with precision upon its individual subjects.
The failure of the project was immediate, and was realised virtually from the start. In 1820, it was already understood that the prisons, far from transforming criminals into honest citizens, serve only to manufacture new criminals and to drive existing criminals even deeper into criminality.
It was then that there took place, as always in the mechanics of power, a strategic utilization of what had been experienced as a drawback. Prisons manufactured delinquents, but delinquents turned out to be useful, in the economic domain as much as the political. Criminals come in handy. For example, because of the profits that can be made out of the exploitation of sexual pleasure, we find the establishment in the 19th century of the great prostitution business, which was possible only thanks to the delinquents who served as the medium for the capitalization of everyday, paid-for sexual pleasure.
Another example: everyone knows that Napoleon III was able to seize power only with the help of a group consisting at least on its lower levels, of common-law criminals. And one only needs to see the workers’ fear and hatred of the criminals during the 19th century to understand that the criminals were being used against them, in social and political struggles, as agents of surveillance and infiltration, preventing and breaking strikes, and so forth.— Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge
According to Forbes, the least valuable college majors include English, history, anthropology, humanities, philosophy, art, and music. It should be questioned whether a society that so undervalues these fields deserves to continue.