Carcer is a Medieval
Latin word for prison, and it gives rise to the term incarceration, which means
to imprison (Warmuth, 2000). Therefore, mass incarceration refers to the
imprisonment of a vast number of people by a particular body. Monarchs,
magistrates, nobles, and the Church could imprison people in medieval times
(Geltner, 2006). The prisons that existed during this time included dungeons,
pits, and towers. Each body had a prison, but the prisons differed remarkably
in size and stature from one body to another. At that time, Africans were
oblivious to the existence of European prisons and their impending impact on
African society. In the fifteenth century, the Atlantic Slave Trade started,
and it changed Africa and the world forever (Trades, 2006). It is important to
note that the Arab slave trade in Africa had existed since the seventh century.

In fact, Arabs had shipped 17 million African slaves to the Middle East and
beyond between the 6th and 20th century (Bulcha, 2005). However, it was
significantly different from that of the European slave trade. For instance,
the Arabs preferred female slaves for household work in addition to sexual
exploitation by their masters (Žáckova, 2014). They also castrated their slaves
to prevent increases in slave populations (Boddy-Evans, 2017). Moreover, Islam
forbids the enslavement of fellow Muslims. However, the most striking aspect of
the Arab slave trade was its lack of sophistication. Records of it are scarce
because the slave traders did not have an elaborate way of capturing slaves, transporting
them, or documenting them.

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