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La Santé Prison: Wikis

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La Santé Prison (center)

La Santé Prison (French: Maison d'arrêt de la Santé or Paris - La Santé) is a prison located in the XIVe arrondissement of Paris, France. It is one of the most famous prisons in France, with both VIP and high-security districts.

La Santé is one of the three main prisons of the Paris area, the Fleury-Mérogis Prison (Europe's largest prison) and the Fresnes Prison, both located in the southern suburbs, being the other two.

Contents

History

Prison de La (rue de la) Santé was founded in 1867 by architect Emile Vaudremer. Its name came from the street where the main gates are, the street itself earning that name because of its proximity to hospital Sainte-Anne (which was one of the main psychiatric hospitals of Paris). Until a few years ago the prison was divided into four blocks, A-D. Each block housed prisoners from the same geographic or ethnic background. For example, block A was designated for Western Europeans, block B for Black Africans, block C for the Maghreb, and block D for the rest of the prisoners.

In the early 1900s, after the destruction of the former Prison de la Grande-Roquette, La Santé remained the last men's penitentiary facility in Paris: amongst the newcoming prisoners were the men sentenced to death. Logically, it was decided soon to perform public executions on boulevard Arago, right next to la Santé's walls. On August 5, 1909, parricide Henri Duchemin was the first person to be executed, by guillotine, right outside of this prison. When public executions were banned in 1939, La Santé's guillotine was moved inside the prison's courtyard, where on March 15, 1940 the Vocoret brothers were the first to be executed. The last ones were Roger Bontems and Claude Buffet, who were beheaded on November 28, 1972.

During World War II, the prison was used to hold both common criminals as well as opponents of the German occupation. On Bastille Day, 1944, as Allied forces were approaching the city, the prisoners revolted, an insurrection that was put down with great brutality and loss of life by the Vichy Milice.

In 2000, the head doctor of the prison, Veronique Vasseur, published a book in which she denounced very bad conditions of imprisonment: dirt, illnesses, etc. The book was a shock to the public and prompted parliamentary evaluation of the situation.[1]

Well-known prisoners of La Santé

References

  1. ^ Expose of Brutal Prison Jolts France's Self-Image, The New York Times, January 28, 2000

Further reading

  • (French) Dominique Vasseur, Médecin chef à la prison de la santé, ISBN 2253151734

Coordinates: 48°50′02″N 2°20′23″E / 48.83389°N 2.33972°E / 48.83389; 2.33972

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