Carcer is a MedievalLatin word for prison, and it gives rise to the term incarceration, which meansto imprison (Warmuth, 2000). Therefore, mass incarceration refers to theimprisonment 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 remarkablyin size and stature from one body to another. At that time, Africans wereoblivious to the existence of European prisons and their impending impact onAfrican society. In the fifteenth century, the Atlantic Slave Trade started,and it changed Africa and the world forever (Trades, 2006). It is important tonote 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 andbeyond between the 6th and 20th century (Bulcha, 2005).
However, it wassignificantly different from that of the European slave trade. For instance,the Arabs preferred female slaves for household work in addition to sexualexploitation by their masters (Žáckova, 2014). They also castrated their slavesto prevent increases in slave populations (Boddy-Evans, 2017). Moreover, Islamforbids the enslavement of fellow Muslims. However, the most striking aspect ofthe Arab slave trade was its lack of sophistication.
Records of it are scarcebecause the slave traders did not have an elaborate way of capturing slaves, transportingthem, or documenting them.