Some Account of the State of the Prisons in Spain and Portugal

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proprietors, 1824 - Prisons - 308 pages
 

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Page 301 - There are two yards; one large unpavedpatio, or court for the men, and a small damp flag-stoned court for the women. Both have fountains, and a sufficient supply of water. The privies are, as they generally are in Spain, in an intolerable state. A number of new apartments are being prepared, but there does not seem anxiety to fit them up, in consequence of several prisoners having escaped through the roof, from some of them. Around the yards are the night apartments; they contain from thirty to forty...
Page 291 - ... prisoners sent to that termed " De la Corte"), there was a square room, about eight yards in length, and nine feet high ; it was entered by an extremely dark and narrow passage, at each end of which were two doors. The prisoner confined within this space never saw the light of heaven. The pavement was of sandstone, and in the centre there was an iron collar, with a chain to confine the prisoner down to it. Although I have not seen the grille.™ of this gaol, I imagine it was as bad, or even...
Page 308 - I am sure he would lend all the weight of his authority to any practicable amelioration. It is fortunate for their country — it is fortunate for the world, when such men, possessed of the wish to do good, and the power to give that wish effect, occupy the exalted stations of society.
Page 297 - Oil is allowed for light till midnight ; the daily quantity for the whole prison is 2 pounds. From thirty to forty individuals sleep in the same apartment* No bedding or straw is provided ; but the prisoners sleep on raised places, formed by bricks, about a foot high, two feet wide, and six feet long ! As many of the religious orders in Spain interest themselves particularly in the relief of the infirm and diseased, the sick prisoners seem generally to obtain prompt attention. An apothecary and...
Page 301 - There is no classification and no species of labor in the prison ; and of ten individuals discharged, the gaoler informed me, six usually return. There is a chapel in the gaol, but the prisoners are not compelled to attend, and the congregation is often very disorderly ; the gaoler and his assistant do not always join in the religious service. The whole time of the prisoners is passed in idleness in the yard, or in the suffocating closeness of the sleeping dungeons. No attention is paid to their...
Page 307 - There is no difficulty in conversing with the prisoners through the grating ; but their friends are not allowed access to the interior. On application to the Ayuntamiento, strangers may obtain a view of the whole. Of the prisoners who leave the gaol, a great number return. The exact proportion I could not ascertain. The rewards for good-behaviour consist in the appointments to some of the prison offices. The punishment for offences is solitary confinement, the longest period of which is three or...
Page 295 - ... punishments, worse than death itself ? If crimes have made us responsible to the law ; if error, if ignorance, if a defective education, have dragged us into crimes, it is just that we should pay the price of our excesses ; but it is not just that we should be treated with inhumanity and barbarity. Whatever our crimes have been, we were born men, and ought still to be looked on with the respect due to human nature. We are Spaniards ! Our blood is your blood ;— we are of one religion with you...
Page 299 - ... 340 arrobes of waste esparto. There- is no watchman at night, but an armed force is always kept in the prison ; escapes are very rare, and almost impracticable without subornation. In 1821 no individual escaped: On the arrival of a prisoner he is placed in a solitary apartment of the prison, remote from the rest, where he is kept till his final examination, and the drawing up the bill of indictment, which by a decree of the Cortes must be prepared within twenty-four hours after his arrest : his...
Page 290 - ... this country, who have since occupied high and important offices in the state. One of them declared, that in the three first days of his arrest he employed himself in counting the number of vermin which he destroyed on his body ; they amounted to thirty thousand ! Another deputy assured me, that when allowed to change his linen, it had on every occasion become so pestiferous, that nothing which he could offer would induce any individuals, however poor, to receive it into their houses ; and it...
Page 306 - The present Committee of the Ayuntamiento seem quite disposed to listen to any plans of improvement, and to carry them into effect. There is no external wall to the prison, and no streets near it. It was intended to hold five hundred prisoners ; the usual number confined varies from 150 to 200. On the 1st of January, 1822, there were 199 prisoners, of whom four were women ; on the 15th of January, 170, of whom six were women ; and on the 31st, 180, among whom only two were women. There are two yards,...

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