became absolutely soiled and deteriorated rapidly as it was used as workclothes and night wear.With little space, especially when prisons were overcrowded, prisonershad to do “everything” in the same place. Moreover, the dead (those whodied of lack of air, or illness, or changes of temperature) were piled in acorner to be taken away latter.
4.- Stress, Distress and Mortalitya.) General Debility and sickness
Prisons were associated with death, and this was further solidify bythe constant physical and psychological distress brought by life in custody.Prisons were not healthy places. The prisoners were normally weak, thisbrought about by the scarcity of good nourishment, lack of hygiene,confinement, darkness, torture. And being weak, they caught sicknesseasier than in normal circumstances.
Many of the deaths in prisons, we can be sure, were due to the prisonconditions. Many times death was an escape sought by the prisoners.Romans often chose death to prison for the simple reason that if they weresent to prison, they would be stripped of their properties and that wouldleave their families with nothing. This was actually contemplated in theRoman law.But generally suicide was a response to the misery of the life in prison,especially if the prospects of release were remote. However, once incustody, suicide was not easy. Guards were always on the alert for prisonerstrying it. This only intensified the suffering of the prisoners, who in turnrefuse to take food, but even then, they would be force fed.It is easy to see that once the sentence had finished, the prisonersemerged from confinement broken in body and spirit.
4.- Paul’s experience of prison in Acts
Paul at Philippi: The experience of Paul at Philippi was certainly the worse (Acts 16:16-40). After being beaten, Paul and Silas were thrown in the inner cell. Mostprobably, his whole stay in there was in total darkness. The other prisonerswere probably in the same cell. It makes sense because it would be moresecure and it explains as well how the prisoners were listening to Paul andSilas, and later Paul says “we are all here”. This account tells us something about the clothing in prison. Paul andSilas were striped to be then flogged. The despoiling would have been with