By Carola M. Small
Social History / Histoire Sociale, vol.26:2 (1993)
Abstract: Although more is becoming known about the prisons of medieval Europe, the details of the use and organization of French municipal prisons have not been the subject of much study. A series of accounts from the early fourteenth century in the Archives départementales du Pas-de-Calais at Arras permits the examination of some aspects of the working of the prison attached to the castle at Arras, which was used by the municipal government primarily for custodial rather than punitive purposes to detain debtors and people awaiting trial or execution. The fiscal arrangements for the prison, including the charges on prisoners and the provision made for indigent prisoners, can be used to obtain other information on such matters as normal terms of imprisonment, the composition of the prison population, prison conditions, and the fate of prisoners.