Source: (2009) Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference 2009: Conference Proceedings. Pg. 18-30.The prison has been developing into a mixed mode institution with large numbers of vulnerable persons, including Aboriginal women and people with mental illness and cognitive disability, being serially incarcerated at high rates. The characterisation of prison as a punishing but therapeutic community is bizarre but has its roots in 19th & 20th century patriarchal colonial and welfare institutions, particularly those for women and children. Is prison in the early 21st century the last institution of control left in which to house such vulnerable persons? This paper discusses this development of the prison and its effects. (Authors abstract).