This archival study presents the report on modern prisons, written by the architect Heinrich Ernst Schirmer (1814–1887) after his travels in England in 1843ྭ44. It also presents Schirmer’s correspondence with the building committee for the new Christiania Penitentiary, a building Schirmer designed in the period 1844–51. These little known texts throw new light on the prison, both as an architectural and a cultural problem, opening for new readings of punishment in modern society.