Probation and Punishment Purpose and Characteristics of Prisons Prisons are there to keep convicted wrongdoers from the society, with the aim of punishing and correcting them. Johnson (2005) outlines forms of punishment, and identifies imprisonment as one of the most complex form of punishment. Imprisonment affects the prisonerÐ²Ð¢s material possession because they can do little to earn themselves while under incarceration, and they may end up losing their jobs and livelihood. The prisoner is also affected psychologically as he or she is under the control of the state. The jailing attacks the psyche by attempts at reformation, leading to mental deterioration that occur due to the negative environment of prisons.