Because hell is differentiated into as many communities as heaven is, there are also as many hells as there are communities of heaven. As each community of heaven is a heaven in smaller form (see Sections 51–58), so each community of hell is a hell in smaller form.
Because there are three heavens overall, there are also three hells overall. There is a deepest hell that is opposite to the inmost or third heaven; there is a middle hell that is opposite to the middle or second heaven; and there is a highest hell that is opposite to the outmost or first heaven.
I need to explain briefly how the hells are governed, though. Overall, the hells are governed by a general impingement of divine good and divine truth from the heavens through which the general effort that flows out of the hells is restrained and controlled. There is also a specific impingement from each heaven and from each community of heaven.
Specifically, the hells are governed by means of angels who are given the ability to look into the hells and check the insanities and riots there. Sometimes angels are sent there, and their very presence brings matters under control.
In general, though, all the people in the hells are governed by their fears, some by fears sown and still in place from the world. However, since these fears are not adequate and gradually weaken, they are governed through fears of punishment, which are the primary means of preventing them from doing evil. There are many kinds of punishment there, milder or more severe depending on the evil [they are restraining]. Most of the time, the relatively malevolent spirits are in power, having gained control by their experience and skill; and they are able to keep the rest in servile obedience by punishments and the fears that these give birth to. These dominant spirits do not dare go beyond fixed limits.
We do need to realize that the only way of controlling the violent rages of people in the hells is through fear of punishment. There are no other means.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 542-543
Sections 51-58: Published 2/13/2018-2/15/2018