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Arising from the old abuses of the times when prisoners were herded together indiscriminately, came the rule of complete separation, and the prevention of all communication. This rule checked contamination, but brought its own evils. If strictly carried out, it condemned a prisoner to almost complete silence, extending perhaps over years: and produced a mechanical life of mental dullness and passive obedience, which was not only inhuman in itself, but was calculated to prevent the prisoner from earning his living, and taking part in ordinary life, after discharge.