In the Middle Age, the Carolingian Empire was supported by a 20% of slave population, but because of the Church's ban, this practice was abandoned between Christians. This relationship evolved from the 10th Century towards serfdom, in which the peasant was bounded to the land and the master. This system endured all around the World, with variations, from feudal lords in Europe to shogunates in
A modern serfdom form is the indenture, under which workers sign temporary contracts according to which they are only paid by accommodation and feeding. This labour practice was dominant in early colonial societies during the 17th and 18th Centuries, and is still common in developing countries, such as
In 1452, the Pope Nicholas V issued the Bull "Dum Diversas", which allowed Christian kings to reduce Saracens, pagans and unbelievers to hereditary slavery. This fact started the massive traffic of black slaves, that remained until the abolition during the 19th Century. Thanks to the collaboration of most powerful African empires (
Prisons and colonies
It is only with the appearance of the modern concept of punishment gradation that prisons are institutionalised. Before that, imprisonment was for political opponents, as common criminals were executed or sent to galleys (French king Louis XIV reduced death sentences so that he could build a well provisioned navy). With the capitalist and industrial economic development, and the consequent emigration to the cities, the authorities tried to convert the new masses of poor and unemployed in a profitable force, and buildings with penitentiary functions were made.
During the 18th Century, new humanist and utopic socialist ideas defined delinquent as a victim of the social order, and defended prisons as a means to correction with necessary long sentences, which lead to a massification of prisons. This way prisons were provided with complex vigilance systems, as these were supposed beneficial for the development of regret, same way that control over workers was an improvement in their work performance.
Because of the costly storage of so many prisoners, Britain was first to apply forced labour during the 19th Century (in mines or building of infrastructures), but not until 1853 was labour differentiated between different types of criminals depending on their crime seriousness. Colonial powers also encouraged criminals to join the army instead of being imprisoned (as
Many colonies were initially conceived with production centres, during the 19th and 20th Centuries they were common in authoritarian governments that cruelly exploited the prisoners, as in Nazi Germany,
The first Nazi concentration camps were built in
A lucrative business
The United States have started to privatise imprisonment services (Wackenhut Corrections, Correctional Services Corporation and Corrections Corporation of