It is his prison that is now most widely meant by the term "panopticon".Bentham described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example".He was eventually successful in winning over Pitt and his advisors, and in 1794 was paid £2,000 for preliminary work on the project.
After unsuccessful attempts to interest the authorities in Ireland and revolutionary France, he started trying to persuade the prime minister, William Pitt, to revive an earlier abandoned scheme for a National Penitentiary in England, this time to be built as a Panopticon.
One station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell.
The architecture incorporates a tower central to a circular building that is divided into cells, each cell extending the entire thickness of the building to allow inner and outer windows.
When he asked the government for more land and more money, however, the response was that he should build only a small-scale experimental prison—which he interpreted as meaning that there was little real commitment to the concept of the Panopticon as a cornerstone of penal reform.
Bentham, now aged 63, was still willing to be governor.