In a real prisoner’s dilemma, each individual must choose between cooperating and defecting. The prisoner’s dilemma is often played only once, but in an iterated version, the consequences of defection are severe and cooperation is rewarded. This method of repeated interactions allows the prisoner to adjust his strategy over time. Prisoners are also given information about health-care services and available consulates. Orientation programs are conducted in prisons and inform newcomers of the process.
In a legal context, a prisoner is a person deprived of liberty. He is being held against his will while awaiting trial. The word prisoner is often used in contrast to convict. The former means a person who has been sent to prison for a long period of time, while the latter term is often used in historical contexts and as part of the phrase «escaped convict.» Captive means a person in an unrecognized situation, but can refer to any other person or situation.
A long prison term can cause physical and psychological changes in a prisoner. The prisoner’s brain undergoes changes as a result of lack of social context. As a result, his brain physiology becomes abnormally sensitive and malleable, making him particularly susceptible to the environment around him. Social interaction is vital for a prisoner’s long-term social adjustment. Prisoners without social interaction may feel isolated and lonely.
There are several reasons why prisoners are imprisoned. In general, the purpose of imprisonment is to deter people from committing crimes. In an individual context, the aim is to reduce the chances of reoffending after release. In a society where prisoners have been punished severely, the objective of punishment is to protect the public from dangerous or harmful individuals. Often, a prisoner’s actions are motivated by personal reasons, such as protecting others or the victim.
While a prisoner may be confined by force, there are also positive outcomes to the process. Incentives that encourage an individual to engage in a particular behavior may benefit society, but can make individuals less secure. It is a paradoxical reality that can lead to adverse outcomes. However, the moral value of a prisoner’s dilemma is undisputed: it is often in the best interest of society to protect the general public against the worst effects of human behaviour.
Jeremy Bentham, an English philosopher and jurist, advocated the concept of imprisonment as a penitentiary. In the late eighteenth century, John Howard exposed the appalling conditions in many prisons. Through his writings The State of Prisons in England and Wales (1777) and An Account of the Principal Lazarettos of Europe (1789), he drew attention to the conditions of prisoners. This led to public outrage and eventually led to the construction of convict prisons.
Some countries also refer to prisoners as «detainees». Although detainees do not have the same legal status as a prisoner of war, it still defines someone in custody. Prisoners can be civilians or combatants acting within the confines of war laws. Political prisoners are people in prison who engage in political activity, and often challenge the legitimacy of their detention. Slave prisoners, on the other hand, have been held captive for labor purposes. Various methods of restriction of liberty have been used throughout history. Similarly, prisoners of conscience are those who have been seized by criminal abductors for their religious beliefs or race.