The introduction starts with a definition of punitive regimes as the bundle of practices, norms and institutions which are imbricated in the making and repression of «deviance». From this perspective, it focuses on two issues: the periodization of an expanded history of penality and the contextualization of the Italian case in the transition of the nineteenth century. Thus, we return to the question of the «birth of the prison» and overview the recent findings of transdisciplinary debates and the Italian scholarship. What emerges is a plurality of punitive regimes and the polygenesis of the correction/punishment link. The introduction questions the idea of a linear evolution in punishment, which allegedly culminated in a single form of carceral modernity, situated historically and geographically in the developed north-west region of the world and subsequently disseminated in its colonial possessions, and beyond. Conversely, we view the Catholic matrix as working within complex «carceral cultures» and the nineteenth-century penitentiary turn as flowing from the absorption of multifaceted and long-term penalities into the prison.
Keywords: Punitive regimes; Prison; Italian case; Catholic matrix.