Throughout human history, speaking in broad, general terms, there have been two basic approaches to operating a prison. The most commonly held view throughout history has been what could be called the punitive approach to incarceration. Namely, convicts had violated the rules of society and it was the role of prison to both punish the convicted criminal and to exact vengeance of sorts for society.
As a result, many prisons were horrible places to be incarcerated. Torture, horrific conditions, violence and inhumane treatment from guards was common. Corruption and abuse of the system were systemic in nearly any prison system found on Earth throughout human history.
As early as the 19th Century and the 20th Century reformers attempted to change how criminals were treated while serving their prison sentences. The changes initially focused on rehabilitation. Sincere attempts were made to equip the convicts with the skills necessary to reenter society and not reoffend.
The attempts to reform prison systems included changes in how prisons were designed. Modern prisons for a period of time were built to be more comfortable, particularly in regards to the mental state of prisoners, and to provide educational and therapeutic programs.
Like many human institutions, the pendulum of prison reform swung back and forth. Victims demanded closure and some degree of retribution be inflicted on the criminals who violated their lives and the lives of their loved ones, many of whom had been silenced forever. Politicians found taking a harsh stand in terms of prison reform to be popular with voters.
Humanitarians were relentless in their efforts to try to swing the pendulum back in the direction of a more humane form of prison and incarceration. Efforts in this regard focused on attempts to eliminate practices such as the death penalty and solitary confinement while providing what was hoped to be an environment that encouraged harmonious and nonviolent living.
As the Interplanetary Alliance spread its borders outwards from Earth, it was faced with the very real need to build prisons. Beta Prime was selected as one of the newer planets to host a prison complex in an effort to boost its fledgling economy. It’s moon Persephone was chosen as the site for Graham Correctional Prison.
Beta Prime’s most distant moon is largely composed of rock and mineral deposits, making life difficult for civilians and convicts alike. Persephone’s lack of atmosphere was viewed as a plus, making escape difficult.
To make the citizens of Beta Prime more comfortable with the idea of prison being located on Persephone, Graham Correctional was built on the dark side of the moon, preventing it from being seen from the surface of Beta Prime as the moon does not spin on its axis. Like the Earth’s moon, Persephone presents the same surface towards Beta Prime at all times.
Male and female convicts are housed in separate facilities within the prison complex along with the employees who operate the institution. Rather than take the approach of dispersing convicts through a range of prisons, segregating them by the level of crime such as minimum security all the way to Supermax, the decision was made by the Alliance Prison Board to build one prison on Beta Prime and concentrate all the convicts from that region of space in one facility.
Construction of Graham Correctional started ten years after the first settlers arrived on Beta Prime. Convicts from forty-five planets would be sent to serve their prison terms in the facility.
Rather than build a sprawling complex on the surface of Persephone, making escape easier and more likely, the decision was made to build the prison complex bellow ground. The above ground complex consisted of the facilities for the employees and their families and the minimum-security prison.
Beneath the above ground complex is the medium security prison and the bulk of its support buildings. Finally, the lowest level of the prison, known as “the dungeon” by the guards and inmates alike, is the Supermax facility, housing the most violent and dangerous inmates.
Level One – “The Surface”
Level Two – Middle Earth
Level Three – The Dungeon