Prison Architecture and Punishment in Colonial Senegal 1498560148, 9781498560146

By examining the history of prison architecture in colonial Senegal, the book adds a new dimension to the processes and

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Prison Architecture and Punishment in Colonial Senegal
 1498560148, 9781498560146

Table of contents :
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Abbreviations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. African Prisons and History
Part I. PENAL POLITICS IN COLONIAL SENEGAL
Chapter 1. Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950)
Chapter 2. Prison Location: Controlling Men and Enforcing Labor
Part II. PRISON ARCHITECTURE AND PENAL EXPERIENCE
Chapter 3. The Architecture of Repression: Prison Buildings and Designs in Senegal (1833–1946)
Chapter 4. Prison Architecture and Patterns of Surveillance, Life, and Discipline
Chapter 5. Redesigning the Colonial Prison: African Responses to Imprisonment
Part III. POST-COLONIAL PRISONS IN SENEGAL
Chapter 6. Architectural Makeover: The Legacy of Colonial Prisons in Senegal
Appendix. Prison Experiences and Narratives: The Power of Words
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

Citation preview

Prison Architecture and Punishment in Colonial Senegal

Prison Architecture and Punishment in Colonial Senegal Dior Konaté

LEXINGTON BOOKS

Lanham • Boulder • New York • London

Published by Lexington Books An imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706 www.rowman.com 6 Tinworth Street, London SE11 5AL, United Kingdom Copyright © 2018 The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Is Available ISBN 978-1-4985-6014-6 (cloth: alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4985-6015-3 (electronic) The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992. Printed in the United States of America

Contents

List of Figures

vii

List of Tables

ix

Abbreviations xi Acknowledgments

xiii

Introduction: African Prisons and History

1

PART I:  PENAL POLITICS IN COLONIAL SENEGAL

31

1  Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950)

33

2  Prison Location: Controlling Men and Enforcing Labor

79

PART II:  PRISON ARCHITECTURE AND PENAL    EXPERIENCE

121

3  T  he Architecture of Repression: Prison Buildings and Designs in Senegal (1833–1946)

123

4  P  rison Architecture and Patterns of Surveillance, Life, and Discipline

175

5  R  edesigning the Colonial Prison: African Responses to Imprisonment

217

PART III:  POST-COLONIAL PRISONS IN SENEGAL

257

6  A  rchitectural Makeover: The Legacy of Colonial Prisons in Senegal

259

v

vi

Contents

Appendix: Prison Experiences and Narratives: The Power of Words

301

Bibliography 313 Index 337 About the Author

341

List of Figures

2.1   Site and location of Dakar civil prison (Plot # 191).

95

2.2   Prisoners on a road worksite.

107

3.1   A plan elevation of Gorée’s first prison in 1833.

130

3.2   A ground plan of Gorée’s second prison in 1886.

131

3.3   A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1872.

133

3.4   A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1886.

134

3.5   Façade of the Saint-Louis prison, 2013.

136

3.6   A side view of the Saint-Louis prison, 2013.

136

3.7   A ground plan of the Dakar prison in 1872.

137

3.8   A ground plan of the Dakar prison in 1915.

138

3.9   A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1917.

139

3.10  A ground plan of the proposed Thiès panoptical prison, 1906.

142

3.11  G  round and elevation plans of the European pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906.

143

3.12  A  ground plan of the women’s pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906.

143

3.13  A  ground plan of the cellular pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906.

144

3.14  F  ront elevation of the cellular pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906.

145

vii

viii

List of Figures

3.15  Ground plan of the façade of the new Dakar prison, 1924.

147

3.16  C  oupe elevation of the façade and ground plan of the home of the warden in the new Dakar prison.

147

3.17  A  n updated façade of the Dakar prison, also known as the Rebeuss prison.

148

3.18  A  photo of the Médina neighborhood with the wall of the new Dakar prison in the background, 1931.

149

3.19  A ground plan of the Rufisque prison built in 1942.

150

3.20  C  oupe elevations and ground plan of the façade of the Rufisque prison, 1942.

151

3.21  Extension plan of the Ziguinchor prison, 1938.

152

3.22  A ground plan of the extension of the Ziguinchor prison, 1940. 153 3.23  A ground plan of the “A” penal camp at Thiès, 1941.

155

3.24  A ground plan of the “C” penal camp at Kelle, 1941.

156

List of Tables

1.1  Misdemeanor and criminal cases in Senegal, 1925–1945

66

1.2  Misdemeanor and criminal cases in Senegal, 1945–1953

67

2.1  Number of inmates at the Dakar prison, 1927–1938

97

6.1  Evolution of criminality in Senegal, 1967–1979

266

6.2  Evolution of prison populations in Senegal, 1981–1997

276

ix

Abbreviations

ANOM ANS BIFAN CFA CODESRIA DAP FWA IFAN MAC MAF ORSTOM UCAD

Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer Archives Nationales du Sénégal Bulletin de l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire Communité Financière Africaine (The West African CFA Franc (XOF) Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiaire French West Africa Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire Maison d’arrêt et de correction Maison d’arrêt des femmes Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-Mer Université Cheikh Anta Diop

xi

Acknowledgments

This book was supported by many individuals and various institutions. I benefitted from great conversations with colleagues and friends who showed genuine interest in my work. My biggest and warmest thanks go to Professor Florence Bernault, who has contributed much to my thinking. Her expertise in the field of prisons in Africa helped to improve and sharpen my approach and arguments. Her encouragement and guidance through the writing of this book have made the process much easier. Florence brought clarity and logic to my thoughts. She has proven to be a wonderful teacher and a great friend. The book was also supported by a generous fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Awards for Faculty Program. The NEH fellowship supported research at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, trips to Senegal and France to conduct additional archival research and interview prisoners, and a ten-month academic leave that allowed me to make significant progress in writing the manuscript. I also received support from my home institution, South Carolina State University, which, besides the academic leave, granted me additional release time to complete this project. Colleagues in the Department of Social Sciences offered encouragements during the writing of the book. I am deeply grateful to my department chair Dr. Benedict Jua and Dr. Carol Apt who read drafts of chapters in the book and offered comments and suggestions to strengthen my arguments. They both became great friends and excellent tutors and writing coaches over these years. Thanks to Alison Mintz, our department’s administrative assistant, whose good humor and jokes helped relieve the stress through the process of working on this book. My colleague Dr. Stanley Harrold, another recipient of the same NEH fellowship, provided great support and advice as well. The staff of the Miller F. Whittaker Library xiii

xiv

Acknowledgments

at South Carolina State University spent long hours requesting books for me through the interlibrary loan system. In Senegal, I owe a special thanks to Professor Ibrahima Thioub who inspired me and nurtured my love for history and interest in prisons. He trained me in archival research, writing skills, and critical analysis. Since the early 1990s, he has offered his insightful analysis of the colonial prison in Senegal and I have benefited from it since then. I also received great comments and advice from Professors Ousseynou Faye, Sokhana Sané, Chérif Daha Bâ, Ndiouga Adrien Benga, and faculty in the history department at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar. In Senegal, the Archives Nationales du Sénégal has been an essential resource. It granted permission to reproduce pictures, images, and other materials collected during the research phase of this project. I would like to express my thanks to its staff, namely the director, Mrs. Fatoumata Cissé Diarra, as well as Mamadou Ndiaye, Babacar Ndiaye, Louis Dioh, Ndeye Maréme Diallo, and all those who work at the Centre de Documentation for their assistance. I am deeply grateful to Mame Gor Faye who made two microfilms of very high quality. Special thanks to Saliou Mbaye. I also wish to express my appreciation to the staff at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aixen-Provence, France where some of my archival research had been done. The Direction of the Penitentiary Administration in Dakar also shared important data with me and granted permissions to interview prisoners, visit prisons, and reproduce pictures of prisons for which they hold copyrights or that I had taken myself. I also wish to express my appreciation to all prison wardens and officials I met during the twenty-plus years I have been working on the history of prisons in Senegal. Special thanks to the wardens of the five prisons I visited in 2013; and to Daouda Diop and Cheikh Tidiane Diallo, both former directors of the Penitentiary Administration in Senegal. I owe a debt of gratitude to my brother-in-law Cheikh Tidiane Basse, a warden himself, who helped established contacts with prison officials and facilitated me obtaining all necessary documents to conduct research and visit prisons. I am deeply indebted to all inmates and staffers I talked to. Their voices, stories, and prison experiences helped me recognize the value of rendering their history in paper. I wish to thank Taylor and Francis for granting permission to include previously published material in this book. An earlier version of chapter 3 appeared as “Penal Architecture: An Essay on Prison Designs in Colonial Senegal,” in Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested Histories, ed. Fassil Demissie (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012), 175–200. In the United States, I have been fortunate to have the assistance, encouragement, and friendship of many individuals whose criticism has helped



Acknowledgments xv

me to rethink and redefine the ideas expressed in this book. I am grateful to Solange Bandiaky, Marame Guèye, Nafisatou Diallo, Amsatou Aris, Ndela Dione, Ndeye Sow, and their families for the wonderful years of friendship and outstanding support. Thanks to my former classmates in the African History program at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, particularly Meredith Terretta, Osman Kobo, Sarah Hardin, and Naaborko Sackeyfio. I also express my gratitude to the Ndiaye and Kone families in Wisconsin, to Amadou Fofana, and especially to Chérif Correa who took the time to read the draft of chapter 2 while vacationing in Senegal with his family. I am indebted to Professors Thomas Spear, Aili Tripp, and the late William Brown, who have also contributed much to my thinking. I learned a great deal from them. My thanks to the anonymous reviewers for Lexington Books, to the late Professor Jessie Moore, and to Margaret DeWind and Candace Kelly who took their time to edit the whole manuscript, combining forthright critiques with personal encouragement. I would like to extend my gratitude to the former editor of the book, Kathryn Tafelski and her assistant Madhumitha Koduvalli and to the current editor, Emily Roderick and her assistants Courtney Morales and Alison Keefner, for their support, guidance, and assistance in bringing this project to completion. To my mother Oulimata Diop, I owe the deepest debt. She cultivated self-confidence and has been with me at a distance as I realize my American dream. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. To my late father Mamadou Konaté and my late baby girl, Safiétou, I dedicate this book. My sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews have always been a great source of inspiration. So, thanks to the Konaté, Basse, Diagne, and Ndione families in Senegal for their unflagging support. A very special thank you goes out to my sister Sira and her husband Médoune Diagne. Former classmates in Senegal gave their support and advice and read newspapers to help me find stories on prisons. Friends opened their doors and welcomed me every time I traveled back to Senegal. My love especially to Soukeyna Ndiaye, Néné Ndiaye, Aminata Guèye, Adama Guèye, Awa Ndoye, and Aissatou Sy. Last but not least, my greatest love and gratitude go to the two individuals who endured a lot during the completion of this project. My daughter Alimatou, who has made motherhood so easy for me, never complained about the family time I took away from her to complete this project. My friend Cheikh shared his time and energy with me. Their patience and understanding through the years of preparation were all the support I needed to accomplish the goal. I am very blessed to have both of them in my life. I thank everyone you who has taken an interest in my work. The defaults of this book remain the responsibility of the author.

Introduction

African Prisons and History

On September 20, 2016, inmates at the Rebeuss prison in Dakar, Senegal’s largest prison, rioted, drawing heavy national and international attention.1 The next day, prisoners at the MAC of Thiès,2 some fifty miles from Dakar, started a hunger strike in support of their fellow inmates.3 Although it was quickly subdued to prevent a wave of prison unrest, the strike indicated that Rebeuss-like forces and conditions were undoubtedly present in Thiès.4 The Rebeuss rioters demanded a shake-up of the prison management and better treatment. Their call highlights the political dimension of the riot, that is, assuming it is not a prison problem but a political problem. The five-day riot, which left one inmate dead and forty prisoners and guards wounded, exposed the main problems that plague the country’s prisons, including long pretrial detention, the excessive caseload of criminal courts, a shortage of investigating judges, poor detention conditions, and overcrowding.5 These troubles, which advance the argument among prisoners that the riot was justified, lend support to Hans Toch’s assertion that “prison riots are sparked by grievances rather than lax security.”6 An analysis of prison riots elsewhere shows they do not happen overnight. Gresham M. Sykes, in his seminal work, Society of Captives, argues that “the most dramatic crisis of the prison are undoubtedly riots.” However, he explained that “we must also recognize that riots do not suddenly come into being but are a long time in the making. In other words, riots are not an ‘accident.’”7 In September 2016, when the Rebeuss prison riot broke out, Senegal had a prison population of “9,544 inmates with an incarceration rate of 61 prisoners per 100,000 residents,”8 for an estimated total national population of 14,690,400.9 Of the 9,544 inmates, “46.5 percent were in pretrial imprisonment,”10 formerly known as preventive detention. The evidence also shows that of the total number of prisoners in Senegal, “48 percent were concentrated in the Dakar area.”11 Of the country’s thirty-seven penal 1

2

Introduction

institutions, eight are located in Dakar and they house the bulk of the prison population,12 including the Rebeuss prison, which alone accommodates an unprecedented number of inmates far in excess of its operational capacity. At the time of the riot, the prison housed approximately 2,500 despite having a capacity of about 800 prisoners. So, it is easy to paint the Rebeuss riot as Senegalese prisoners’ rejection of the country’s whole model or approach to imprisonment. Through the riot, they expressed a collective response to their detention conditions. In addition, riot seeds were sprouting at the Rebeuss prison: five hunger strikes occurred in 2016 alone at the institution.13 Therefore, the riot was less of a bombshell development and more part of a pattern of problems at the institution that were, of course, ignored or undermined. It epitomizes a greater issue, namely a persisting prison crisis that Senegalese historians Ibrahima Thioub, Babacar Bâ, and Ibra Séne had diagnosed as early as the mid-1990s.14 There is no doubt that Senegal has grappled with prison overcrowding, pushing some to describe its prisons as “bagne”15 while other observers stress that the saturation of prison life would eventually turn prisons into a “ghetto pénitentiaire.”16 The use of the words “bagne” and “ghetto” invokes lines frequently used by concerned citizens and in media criticism of detention conditions to raise awareness of the plight of prisoners or to blast the government’s inefficient prison policies. As words to describe prison crowding are not lacking, the evidence supports that Senegal’s prison population has skyrocketed, “doubling over the past 15 years,”17 and outstripping the total capacity its prisons were designed to accommodate. For instance, the number of inmates grew “from 4,894 inmates with an incarceration rate of 51 per 100,000 residents in 2000 to 8,630 with an incarceration rate of 58 per 100,000 in 2014.”18 As of March 2018, there were 12,500 prisoners (including pretrial detainees and remand prisoners) with an incarceration rate of 76 per 100,000 residents (for an estimated national population of 16.39 million at that date).19 Although other countries also deal with prison overcrowding,20 in Senegal, many factors other than long pretrial imprisonment and the shortage of judges account for it. Those factors include changing legal policies and considerations, namely a severe criminalization of the possession, use, and sale of cannabis, and an increase in the country’s population. In addition, the lack of space and a decaying infrastructure undoubtedly contribute to the overcrowding. Studies of prison crowding have shown that “overcrowding invites the ignoring of inmate needs other than the need for a place to sleep.”21 They also convincingly emphasize how growing prison population today turn prisons simply into “human warehouses.”22 These arguments were extended in studies by Hans Toch who contends that “congested prisons are mostly warehouses for people.”23 He goes on to stress that “the most serious



Introduction 3

consequence of crowding is warehousing, which creates a prison climate that prevents inmates from serving time in customary ways,”24 thus compelling them to create an “ecology of survival”25 behind bars. By the same token, it would seem fair to say that the use of the words “bagne” and “ghetto pénitentiaire” to describe Senegalese prisons make sense. The reaction to the Rebeuss riot epitomized a political fallout. Indeed, the riot was a major contributor to the government’s new prison policies. After the riot ended, it had become clear that an overhaul of the prison system was needed. Literature on prison riots makes the point that “many prison riots do lead to far-reaching change, even a restructuring of a jurisdiction’s entire correctional system.”26 In the aftermath of the riot and the public attention it received, Senegal’s justice minister, Sidiki Kaba noted that no prison had been built since the early 1960s,27 a reality the effects of which are becoming increasingly obvious.28 By acknowledging the old age of the prison infrastructure, Kaba also acknowledged the corollaries of aging facilities, including poor detention conditions, a lack of space, lax safety and security, and unhealthiness. He also openly admitted that “prisons need to be modernized.”29 What he meant by “modernized” remains unclear because he did not elaborate. Did he mean by “modernized” the construction of new prisons? The riot commanded far more media attention when, four days after it occurred, Minister Kaba announced that “a new 1,500-bed prison would be built, and the construction of a 500-bed prison had begun and expected to be finished in January 2017.”30 The 1,500-bed prison, scheduled to open in 2018, would replace the Rebeuss prison. Both prisons are to be in Sébikotane, some twenty miles from Dakar, and would provide 2,000 new beds to increase the official capacity of the prison system, estimated at 7,350 as of March 2018.31 By announcing a major prison-building program, the first one since 1960, the Senegalese government has made the construction of new facilities the centerpiece of new prison policies. Moreover, by green-lighting the building of two prisons, the government has also expressed its understanding that prison infrastructure matters. These efforts have run strikingly parallel with other innovations to overhaul the prison system, including the revamping of the Rebeuss prison, the construction of a state-owned bakery to service prisons in Dakar, the construction of a new National School of Prison Administration (the first in West Africa), and the increase of the prisoner daily maintenance from 635 francs to 1,000 francs CFA.32 In the waning days of 2017, Ismaila Madior Fall, the new justice minister, promised that all thirty-seven prisons would be rehabilitated in 2018,33 while announcing a five billion CFA budget to feed inmates.34 In the same token, the government took significant steps in partnership with local and international research and consultant groups to gain a deeper understanding of the problems that plague the prisons and to

4

Introduction

propose some solutions.35 However, the government’s fast-track mission and efforts to fix the prison system did not obscure the deadly outcome of the Rebeuss riot, which the media framed as an impetus for change: “Senegal prisoner killed during riot becomes reform symbol.”36 Put another way, it took the death of a prisoner to persuade the government to build new prisons and overhaul the prison system. This suggests that the riot created a sense of guilt among governmental officials, who learned of the need to reform prisons from prisoners. By and large, the reform initiated after the riot meant that this time, the Senegalese government listened to prisoners. Arguably, 2016 was a watershed year for both prisoners and the authorities as they expressed a strong desire for changes to the prison system. As for the Rebeuss riot, it provoked a lively discussion of the conditions of prisons in the country. Marking the beginning of a new prison era in Senegal, it also offers a golden road and a starting point to recount the history of prison architecture and punishment in Senegal. As previously mentioned, the Rebeuss prison accommodated 2,500 inmates in a space designed for 800 prisoners when the riot broke out. This situation is not exceptional. Overcrowding defined the prison from the moment it opened in 1924. But anyone who lives in or visits Dakar, Senegal’s capital, and drives along its beautiful seashore (known as La Corniche) toward the city’s downtown could not miss the Rebeuss prison; its physicality, presence, and reputation are apparent in its thick tall basalt wall. Today, unlike the early 1920s, its well-chosen location is a remarkable contrast on La Corniche, home to beautiful homes and beaches, flourishing businesses, hotels, embassies, and entertainment and fitness places. Also known as 100m2 (read 100 meters-square) because of its square shape, the Rebeuss prison is Senegal’s largest penitentiary and one of the thirty-three established in Senegal during French rule. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, it embodies the essence of prison architecture in colonial Senegal. It became the “classic model” of prison in Senegal from 1924 until 1960, when the control of prisons was transferred to independent Senegal. However, it did not replicate the model of earlier prisons, which were designed with architectural forms that expressed anything but imprisonment. It is the role that prison architecture played that is the focus of this book. The architecture of a building reflects its function; prisons are no different. This book explores the history of prison architecture in Senegal in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to illuminate the connections between penal architectural forms and punishment. In other words, it examines the intricate relationship between form and function. It builds on the growing recognition that the prison—like the school, the army, and the police—played a crucial role in shaping the control of populations in colonial Senegal and deepens



Introduction 5

that understanding by illustrating French policies of punishment and the programs of prison as well as the political contexts that their efforts mean. In their edited book, Discipline and the other Body: Correction, Corporeality, and Colonialism, Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao argue that “questions of punishment are vital in understanding the targets and consequences of a colonial regime of governmentality.”37 Punishment was an aspect of statebuilding in French Senegal that highlights the nature of colonial authority and penality. Imprisonment, the chief form of punishment in France’s oldest colony in West Africa, was deeply woven into the fabric of state formation and citizenship-building of the colonial state. Modernity came to colonial Senegal in many ways, and the prison was one of them. The importance of imprisonment became apparent in formal debates, legislation, and penal policies, but also in the adoption of specific penal architectural forms. Prisons were created in colonial Senegal at a time when new penitentiaries emerged in France; yet, the emergence and development of the prison in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Senegal followed a rather different path than in France, especially regarding the construction of well-crafted penal structures. Introduced in the early nineteenth century, prisons became a key element in the mechanism of colonial repression. But the thirty-three prisons built from 1820, soon after France regained control over Senegal, to 1960 when the colony became independent, revealed poorly designed architectures characterized by the absence of cellular or panoptic designs, which were evident in France and other European countries during the same time. The panoptical prison, which emphasized the expressive power of architecture to control inmates’ behaviors, as arguably discussed by Foucault, was never the dominant architectural style of prisons in colonial Senegal, despite the French’s efforts to build one in the province of Thiès in 1906. Moreover, prisons in colonial Senegal were identified only by letters of the alphabet or by their geographical location. The two largest penal camps were known as penal camp “A” and “C.” Built in locations far away from populated areas, their forms revealed a hybrid architecture that was based on designs often copied from France or non-French African colonies and on styles that the French considered suitable for their colonies. Moreover, in Senegal, the French developed a few acceptable standards for prison construction. Early prisons were architecturally simple, as they were not initially intended for incarceration. Up to the early 1920s, in many parts of the colony, old military and defensive posts built during the wars of conquest in the 1850s–1890s were converted into prisons that reflected little architectural imagination. For instance, in 1924, inmates at the Diourbel prison slept in horse stalls due to a lack of space; in the province of Sédhiou, in Southern Senegal, grass or clay huts with thatched roofs served as detention centers

6

Introduction

until 1909 when a section of the town’s military camp was converted into a prison. The first penitentiary school for young offenders, created in 1888 and housed inside the Catholic Mission in the province of Thiès, was built in the style of a convent. Built near road and railway construction sites, the penal camps were torn down and rebuilt every time a work site was opened or closed. During French rule, there were no prisons for female inmates, who were incarcerated in separate quarters in the same buildings as male inmates, leading to many instances of sexual abuse. It was after the construction of the Dakar prison in 1924 that the French erected facilities specifically designed to be prisons. However, facilities similar to the Dakar prison, also known as Rebeuss, were not built on a large scale. Instead, existing prisons were extended, renovated, and expanded to accommodate a growing inmate population. The continual reshaping of colonial prisons in Senegal altered their forms by creating complex and sometimes undefined architectural styles that showed little evolution and imagination. So, this book tries to identify the unique features of the architecture of colonial prisons in Senegal. Even though this book focuses primarily on prison buildings, it goes beyond mere architectural considerations. Indeed, prison facilities were designed and built within a wider political, social, and economic context in which many changes occurred. Budgetary constraints, colonial health policies for disease prevention, and labor issues were critical factors that influenced the architecture of prisons in colonial Senegal. Policies aimed at separating Africans and Europeans in Senegal and the French empire reveal that prison architecture and race overlapped in French Senegal. These factors limited the functionality of colonial prisons and had a negative impact on African inmates whose societies lacked penal confinement. Africans never adapted to colonial prisons and developed strategies of resistance against imprisonment, due largely to badly designed and built prisons. Given all these problems, the book argues that in colonial Senegal, the punishment of African inmates was inherently political, not disciplinary or rehabilitative, in nature. As the book opens with the 2016 riot at the Rebeuss prison, it is particularly well-timed because it reiterates concerns about overcrowded prisons in Senegal and calls for improved detention conditions and more new facilities. The only prison established after independence was the Rufisque women’s prison that opened in 1972. It is housed in a former police station built in the 1930s, a reminder of the architecture of recycling that characterized the early prisons established in French Senegal. Furthermore, the book exposes complaints about the inadequate quality of current prison facilities, complaints made mostly by inmates I interviewed and by numerous imprisoned political figures and celebrities as reported in the media. By choosing



Introduction 7

to keep inmates in the same prisons built by the French, the Senegalese post-colonial state has also failed prisoners. The book also argues that despite their crumbling and overcrowded condition, prisons are a political tool used by both opposition leaders and different administrations in pursuit of their own varied and sometimes competing goals. In other words, the postcolonial prison is a highly politicized and weaponized institution. In these ways, the book is very relevant today. COLONIAL PRISONS IN HISTORICAL STUDIES The architecture of colonial prisons has been omitted from the scope of historical research although the history of imprisonment in Senegal has flourished since the mid-1990s. Prison historiography in Senegal has discussed various aspects of imprisonment, including, among other topics, the creation of penitentiary schools for minor delinquents38; health and morbidity in the colonial prisons39; the establishment of penal camps, which allegedly were reserved for hardened convicts, but received all categories of prisoners40; and the emergence and development of a prison system in the colony.41 Much attention has been given to the connection between crime and punishment,42 prison staff,43 the incarceration of women,44 and the dynamic of resistance and rejection of imprisonment in Senegal.45 Special attention also had been given to prisons in the form of historical monographs46 and the crisis of the post-colonial prison.47 For example, Ibrahima Thioub argues the French copied the metropolitan juvenile reformatories in Senegal under the moniker of penitentiary schools, but the curriculum in those schools emphasized obedience and work, two qualities that Africans lacked, as Europeans allegedly claimed.48 Thioub also reminds us in another study that the health of prisoners was not a priority for colonial authorities, with the result that most prisons became death sites and breeding grounds for diseases,49 an argument I expand in chapters 2 and 4. Similarly, Séne’s monographs on the prison in Saint-Louis50 explore the evolution of that prison between 1830 and 1944, a time during which the penitentiary system in Senegal expanded while prisons became firmly rooted in France’s civilizing mission in Africa. Although this rich prison historiography explores several aspects of imprisonment in colonial Senegal, my focus here linking punishment to prison architecture differs much from this literature. It gives the first-ever comprehensive study of prison architecture and punishment in colonial Senegal. What is also surprising is that the architecture of colonial prisons has received little, if any, attention in the growing historiography on colonialism and imprisonment. For example, Florence Bernault argues that racially

8

Introduction

segregated architectures invaded colonial prisons in Africa51 while Alain Sinou contends that prisons were part of public edifices that did not need an “architectural marking.”52 These authors did not entirely ignore the penal architectures built by Europeans in Africa, but they did not expand their analyses. David Arnold’s work on the Indian prison is one of the few studies on imprisonment and colonialism that touches on prison architecture, mainly the attempts “to incorporate the characteristics of British and American penitentiaries (such as) . . . an internal layout with a central tower and radiating wings that emulated London’s Pentonville prison completed in 1842.”53 The works of Peter Zinoman, Florence Bernault, Clare Anderson, Frank Dikötter, Ian Brown, Daniel Branch, Caroline Elkins, David Anderson, and others have explored numerous complexities of imprisonment and imperial rule in Africa,54 Asia,55 Latin America, and the Caribbean.56 Therefore, we know much about imprisonment as a political, legal, economic, and social system, but we know little about the built environment in which it played out. Prison architecture is the one topic that has not been studied, and no monograph has been published on the topic. Building on and contributing to this growing historical scholarship, this book addresses issues of central importance to the history of colonialism and punishment. It is also an attempt to contribute to a broader history of imprisonment in Africa and to fill in the gap in the historiography of punishment in Senegal. This book shares with Florence Bernault’s edited volume, History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, a temporal and geographical focus and an interest in imprisonment. Bernault and other contributors to her volume point out the existence of racially segregated architectures within African colonial prisons and discuss how urban projects precipitated the relocation of prisons to the outskirts of colonial cities in Africa. They recognize the existence of penal architectural forms in colonial Africa but have not studied them within the history of punishment or architecture in the continent. My book aims to accomplish something very different by giving the first-ever comprehensive treatment of architecture and punishment in colonial Africa. For this particular reason, it differs from much of that scholarship because by addressing fundamental questions about how prisons were designed and built, it will contribute to a broader understanding of imprisonment in colonial Africa. Some of the main themes of the book are similar to those addressed by Peter Zinoman57 and Clare Anderson,58 both of whom present case studies of colonial prisons in revolt. Zinoman details the chaotic and ill-disciplined nature of prisons in Vietnam as well as the political and social meaning of incidents of collective violence in those institutions. He contends that “given that France was at the center of the global penological revolution in the nineteenth century . . . Indochinese prisons never employed cellular or



Introduction 9

panoptic architecture and held the majority of inmates in undifferentiated, overcrowded, and unlit communal rooms.”59 As discussed in chapters 3–5, prisoners in colonial Senegal were subjected to similar conditions, suggesting a pattern of horrible detention conditions in the French colonies. Focusing on jailbreaks, Anderson discusses the 1857–1858 Indian rebellion and its impact on the penal system in India. She notes that after the uprising, security issues rendered many Indian prisons unstable, causing British authorities to abandon small prisons for large penitentiaries in remote areas. However, overcrowding and unrest defined the new penitentiaries. My research distinguishes itself in several significant ways. Violence, unrest, and lack of discipline are all symptoms associated with the greater architectural problems of the colonial prisons in Senegal. This study also shows that French authorities purposely chose specific prison designs and norms for Africans and how Africans responded creatively and strategically to the expansion of colonialism and the development of prisons. Frank Dikötter advances the argument that the prison in China was a “microcosm of an exemplary society,”60 deployed as a tool to create a cohesive society. Similarly, David Arnold’s investigation of Indian prisons reveals that “until the middle of the nineteenth century, India prisons were uncertain places of incarceration, wanting both security and a clear institutional identity.”61 Despite these inadequacies, the prison in India was “one of the key sites on which the ground rules of colonial engagement with Indian society were laid down.”62 In colonial Senegal, the French assigned similar missions to prisons as discussed in chapters 1 and 4. Dikötter’s discussion of prison architecture and the financial constraints that plagued prisons in China with death, disease, and overcrowding show that these problems were not unique to colonial Senegal but were common to China as well. Caroline Elkins’s and Daniel Branch’s studies on imprisonment in colonial Kenya also provide the background to this research. Their works chronicle the role of imprisonment in the repression of the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s. Branch’s analysis of the prison in colonial society suggests that prisons and detention camps in Kenya were “sometimes locations of repression and control, at other times they were sites of dissent and disinterest.”63 Although French and British colonialisms in Africa were different at many levels, prisons in colonial Senegal shared many of the traits of prisons in colonial Kenya. Caroline Elkins boils down detention camps in Kenya in one word: gulags. She persuasively shows how the camps became the metaphor for the British battle against the Mau Mau fighters.64 While her book emphasizes the political aspects of the work camps in Kenya, this book sheds light on the economy of the work camps in colonial Senegal. However, it is clear is that the more than one million Kikuyu people detained in the work camps

10

Introduction

in Kenya and the hundreds of prisoners confined in penal camps in Senegal were all badly treated and worked to death. My analysis of prison architecture and punishment in French Senegal has parallels with Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown’s arguments that the modern prison emerged in a global historical context, but was articulated, situated, and informed by local conditions. In their edited volume, Cultures of Confinement: The Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin American, they remind us that “the prison was never simply imposed or copied but was reinvented and transformed by a host of local factors, its success being dependent on its flexibility.”65 The contributors to this book convincingly contend that modern prisons in Latin America, Africa, and Asia failed to exist as systems of reform or rehabilitation and reproduced entrenched societal inequities. In constrast, this book shows that the failure of reform and rehabilitation within colonial prisons in Senegal was not associated with anything except the ill-designed and poorly built prison facilities that segregated based on gender, race, age, and social, civil, and military status. Meanwhile, the book emphasizes the existence of “cultures of confinement” unique to Senegal as well as to other colonies. The book, however, moves beyond the arguments of these works by showing how the French engaged with Senegalese inmates by crafting penal legislation and by designing and building prison facilities that failed them. ARCHITECTURE AND PUNISHMENT The thirty-three prisons established in Senegal during French rule were clothed in architectural styles that reflected France’s changing attitudes about imprisonment. Most of those institutions are still operational and constitute a rewarding body of evidence of the built environment of imprisonment in Senegal. Imprinted in them are two centuries of prison history. This time span is short compared to “four centuries of prison history”66 in Europe and North America. However, in the last four decades, the scholarship on imprisonment and confinement in Europe and North America has expanded tremendously, with much attention given to the emergence of the prison at these places. For instance, The Oxford History of the Prison67 and Institutions of Confinement68 chronicle the birth and evolution of prisons and other institutions of confinement in Europe and American in the longue durée, highlighting the role of reformers in the shift from gruesome forms of punishment, such as hanging, beheading by axe, boiling, to imprisonment. In, The Promise of Punishment,69 Patricia O’Brien examines the evolution of punishment in nineteenth-century France with an emphasis on prisons. She devotes a substantial part of the book to inmates, joining Michelle Perrot, who has emphasized how inmates



Introduction 11

“have disappeared from their own history”70 and should be given the place they deserve in the history of prisons. My book attempts to answer Perrot’s call and dedicates an entire chapter to the agency of prisoners and how they redesigned the colonial prisons with their own architectural standards. In the last four decades, the scholarship on confinement and imprisonment in Europe and North America has also shifted the focus on what is called the “the architecture of control” (prisons, hospitals, asylums, workhouses, reformatories, etc.) to look mainly at the connection between confinement, architecture, power, and discipline aimed at changing human behavior and instill new habits on the pensioners of these institutions.71 In her study of the architecture of hospitals in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, Lindsay Prior stresses that “specific elements of the ward and hospital design are capable of revealing some fine detail concerning the manner in which child illnesses, insanity, or surgery are theorized in different decades of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And thus, the architectural plan lays bare the spatial expressions in which medical knowledge and therapeutic practices are constituted.”72 Similarly, David Rothman emphasized that the treatment of madness in America in the Jacksonian era necessitate a special architecture, what he calls “a well-ordered asylum,”73 which was used in the control and care of the body. No one better lays out the connection between architecture, power, and control than Michel Foucault. In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Foucault analyses the emergence of the prison as a new technology to control not only the bodies of inmates but also the totality of their lives.74 He argues that the prison and the asylum appeared during the era of the “Great Confinement,” in which a new disciplinary power emerged, represented by physical enclosures in which docile bodies were subject to constant surveillance.75 Prison, as the ultimate panopticon, puts inmates in “so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible.”76 Many scholars have found Foucault’s power/knowledge formula problematic, including David Rothman and Norval Morris, who state that Western penitentiary systems created micro-societies of corruption, violence, and inequality culminating in mutiny, aggression toward the guards, and violence among inmates, despite a focus on prison designs to discipline inmates. Both argue that “the administrators hold the ultimate power at the periphery, but within the walls, power lies with the prisoners.”77 However, anyone researching the topic of prisons today cannot ignore Foucault, and I found his power/knowledge approach quite attractive. This book, however, argues that although the prison was exported to colonial Senegal from France, its architecture could not be read in the Foucauldian language because, within its walls, power and knowledge did not happen in unison as discussed in chapters 3 and 4. Therefore, prisons

12

Introduction

in colonial Senegal, like hospitals in early modern France, did not “wait for Foucault,” to quote Colin Jones.78 Even as scholars across disciplines have shown great interest in the relationship between architectural forms, the organization of space, and the use of power to control inmates’ behaviors, the history of prison architecture in Africa has remained mainly outside these scholarly interests. For example, Norman Johnston has examined connections between prison architecture and human improvement in many parts of the world, except in Africa.79 The goal here is to document prison architecture in colonial Africa as a reality. Therefore, as its central question, this book asks if these connections did exist in colonial Senegal. It addresses three main themes. First, it analyzes prison buildings and their changing architectural forms throughout the colonial period to understand how the French used prison architecture to control Africans. Second, it describes the connections between punishment and the internal layout of prison spaces to show how the design of prisons expressed the notions of punishment and reforms. The book also focuses on inmates as historical actors, showing how they adapted to prison conditions, undermined them or re-appropriated the spaces in which they were confined. Finally, the book discusses the legacy of colonial prisons in independent Senegal. All these themes demonstrate that different architectural styles in various time periods gave prisons in French Senegal their originality. They also show that their hybrid forms and the existence of numerous prison facilities as described earlier made discipline and the rehabilitation of prisoners impossible. Despite being a historical study, this book draws insights from geographers, architects, and sociologists interested in prisons, buildings, and architecture in general. My book draws heavily on Robin Evan’s book, The Fabrication of Virtue. Privileging a spatial analysis of prisons, Evans explains how English prison architecture changed with changing perceptions, implicit and explicit, of the nature of criminality, the purpose of imprisonment, and the proper ordering of human relationships. He argues that “the history of English prisons between 1750 and 1850 is also the history of the emergence of a new kind of architecture, associated with reform. . . . The prison became a proper subject for architecture . . . the application of architecture to its buildings, provided the ideal conditions for the perfecting of thought to make architecture the instigator of virtue.”80 Evans’s argument also highlights the correlation between the structure of prison buildings and the nature of prison life in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England. He explains that prison buildings, with their proliferating components and patterned plans, mapped the location of staff and inmates, guided their movements, and mediated the transactions between them.81 Evans’s book helped me to frame my theoretical approach and to understand how architectural designs shaped the functions of the colonial prisons in Senegal.



Introduction 13

In, The Human Cage,82 Norman Johnston traces the emergence of prisons from religious institutions and workhouses and the history of their changing forms, particularly in nineteenth-century Europe and America. In Forms of Constraints,83 Johnston goes further to decipher the coded language of prison forms and styles, investigating the relationships between their forms and human improvement. Johnston’s book offers a detailed description of penal architectural forms that allowed me to train myself in architectural language. The biggest challenge I faced when engaging in this project was my lack of training in architectural history. Alfred Hopkins was the main source of my increased understanding of prison architecture. To Norman Johnston, he is the “man most frequently credited with bringing the telephone-pole plan to the United States.”84 A trained architect, Hopkins designed some prisons in the United States while visiting other countries to learn about their buildings. Based on his long-standing interest in prison architecture, his book Prisons and Prison Buildings85 is filled with descriptions of architectural forms and penitentiary models. I have drawn more information on the history of prison architecture in Senegal from Nicholas Pevsner’s A History of Building Types.86 The book is concerned with typology, which, the author argues, “allows for a demonstration of development both by style and by function, style being a matter of architectural history, function of social history.”87 Pevsner’s separation of style and function is obvious when he stresses that “the importance of a building is less in its internal accommodation than its style.”88 My study caused me to disagree with him. The evidence shows that in the colonial prison buildings in Senegal, social history meshes with architectural history because the facilities where prisoners were confined were designed and built within in a wider changing political, social, economic, and administrative context as discussed in chapter 3. Finally, I immersed myself in Thomas Markus’s remarkable book, Buildings and Power,89 learning much about the social functions of buildings and what they reveal about the social relations of power and control, which they not only serve but also embody in their design. As a social historian with no background in architectural history, I was well served by these books that provide an interdisciplinary approach to my topic. PRISON ARCHITECTURE: RETHINKING ARCHITECTURE IN COLONIAL AFRICA Examining the architecture of prisons in colonial Senegal helps us understand how imprisonment broadens the scope of colonial architecture in Africa. Prisons in French Senegal became physically visible through architectural forms that featured other aspects of colonial architecture in Africa. In 1984,

14

Introduction

Brian B. Taylor argued about demythologizing colonial architecture, which “involves an assessment, a critical reappraisal, of the cultural ideals, aesthetic tastes, and technological means that brought certain buildings models and forms into being at a particular historical moment.”90 Taylor’s work encapsulates an effort to clear away some myths about colonial architecture, for instance, whether the architectural styles found in the colonies were a replica of styles found in Europe or an imitation of local styles. Other myths related to the impact of colonial building programs on the local building industries and the link between the work of architects and planners in the colonies and that of their counterparts in Europe. Taylor argued that “there was never a uniform, homogenous ‘colonial’ style”91 and “not two histories of modernist architecture and their influence abroad but several, complex and interconnected.”92 According to him, what happened “was a destructuring of traditional know-how and methods of organization which, in many instances where colonial powers had not trained local technicians and cadres.”93 Since Taylor’s remarks, studies on the connections between architectural styles, Western discourses, and colonial rule in Africa have mushroomed. However, architecture as a “tool of empire,”94 colonial existing structures, and the roles of builders and designers are overlooked in the history of colonialism.95 This lack of interest in architecture, whether in colonial Africa or in connection with colonialism or other historical moments, rests, according to Robert Tittler, on the fact that “something valuable has been lost in the movement of professional historians away from the physical evidence of the past.”96 Tittler argues that “our near exclusive pre-occupation with written or spoken sources has overwhelmed a consciousness of the physical record, the built environment of past societies.”97 Attempts by historians and other scholars at filling that gap have produced a strong emphasis not only on architecture but also on urbanism in colonial Africa. A large scholarship has explored the legacies of colonial architectural ideologies in post-colonial Africa,98 the development of colonial cities,99 and the “neo-Sudanese” styles100 inspired by mosques found in Mali. Scholars also have examined the symbolic meanings of buildings to the colonial enterprise101 and their functions as tools and metaphors to regulate spaces and control people,102 as sites of imperial expression,103 and as key players in defining culture and identity, thus convening various “forms of dominance.”104 More works have looked at the history of African urban spaces,105 the ambiguities in the architecture of colonial cities,106 the architectural theories and practices in urban planning,107 colonial architecture as a metaphor to promote tourism,108 and the complex link between colonial architecture and urbanism,109 all adding new dimensions to the motives behind the production of particular architectural styles. Another significant contribution of these studies is their



Introduction 15

analysis of colonial architecture in Africa not as “a uniform, homogenous ‘colonial’ style.”110 That said, they are instrumental in “demythologizing” it. These works, however, focus exclusively on buildings such as churches, schools, hospitals, military barracks, forts, monuments, and dwellings, and overlook prisons which, like these buildings above, were also major architectural components of colonial cities. Located at the crossroads of punishment and colonial architectural ideologies, prisons in colonial Senegal chronicle a chapter in the history of the nation’s rich architecture. Therefore, their architecture broadens the expressive power of colonial architecture in Africa. The assumption that architecture is more about the functions of buildings has been widely argued by scholars over the years. Kim Dovey states that “the value of architectural practice is revealed in the everyday experience of the place it creates, constrained as they may be by the imperatives of ideology and power.”111 Likewise, Gwendolyn Wright contends that “architecture is dynamic, creative, sometimes even obstinate, not simply a response to or reflection of abstract, anonymous forces.”112 These layered meanings and purposes of architecture suggest complex connections between architectural ideologies, buildings, and power in colonial Africa. Colonial buildings in Africa were shaped by numerous factors that lay behind the production of specific architectural styles. Whether labeled “colonial architecture” or “imperial architecture,” these styles were meaningful at all levels, suggesting that it was more than just a matter of buildings themselves. Fassil Demissie reminds us that “the production of imperial architecture in Africa was an idea, an image, and a social and cultural practice . . . that served the vital aim of creating and sustaining a material culture and moral discipline deeply embodied in imperial identity.”113 These arguments posit the fact that colonial architecture in Africa embodied various “forms of dominance.”114 However, these were no more relevant in any institutions than prisons characterized by repressive architectures, where race rather than sex, age, or social or civil status seemed only to matter. That said, prison architecture in the French colonial period adds much to the debate about the multiple functions of colonial architecture and also to the historical interpretation about its oftendebated origin, nature, and production. African-European encounters were also reflected in colonial buildings, highlighting the impact of internal and external determinants in the production of colonial architecture on the continent. However, the idea that Europeans destroyed, ignored, or domesticated African indigenous architectures to promote their styles has been raised by many scholars. A stream of publications has explained that Europeans advanced their civilizing mission using architectural ideology to depict “traditional” African architecture as an

16

Introduction

“abnormal environment” to evoke new “sites of civility”115 through the houses, Christian missions, schools, and administrative infrastructures they built. Those studies also claimed that Europeans had defined new architectural styles to fit Africans into modernita (modernity),116 combined European and African styles to valorizzata “‘uncivilized’ black Africa,”117 and integrated traditional architectural forms into western buildings “to downplay resistance and disguise the autocratic control.”118 These numerous studies differ in argument and approach, but they agree concerning the transmutation of European “modernity” in the symbolic meanings, roles, and functions of architecture to the colonial enterprise, whether it was to promote their styles or to construct a “particular colonial relationship.”119 Another strand of scholarship, however, has devoted its attention instead to African architecture, contending that it was socially, politically, culturally, and economically significant to the organization of societies. Peter Mark argues that in Senegambia, “buildings and social concepts were closely interrelated. The houses that people build serve not only to provide shelter but also to symbolize or to articulate the owners’ social and cultural identity.”120 Nor was he alone. Jean P. Bourdier and Trinh T. Minh-ha state that in African-built landscapes, “the relation of men, women, and building, does not necessarily have to be one of dominance and submission, of exclusion, or dependency and rupture, as often seen in modern architecture; it can be one of mutual vulnerability.”121 These authors make a convincing case that unlike colonial buildings, African architectures did not articulate a relationship of dominance but rather strong bonds between buildings and humans. Rethinking colonial architecture from the perspective of prisons helps us to locate the production of their forms within this rich debate on architectural processes in Africa and read it within the modernist praxis in the continent. In Senegal, there was no tradition of prison building, simply because imprisonment did not exist before French rule (as discussed in chapter 1). Thus, colonial prisons did not build on existing domestic penal styles or resulted from the transformation of indigenous prison styles. Domestic architecture, however, provided the underpinnings for the architecture of the colonial prisons as local dwellings were turned into makeshift prisons or provided the models for some colonial prisons. That practice produced an architecture of recycling, which in the process also incorporated early structures derived from the slave trade, military conquests, and trading and religious activities. Because the colonial prison was a French import, this architecture of recycling was fused with a metropolitan-driven architecture that promoted modern prisons but resulted in poorly imitated styles deemed suitable for Senegal and its populations and climate. The fusion of all these styles created an expression unique to the colonial prisons. As we study their typology and



Introduction 17

analyze their designs, it becomes clear that their architecture was neither African nor European. Instead, it was an invented architecture that derived from the context of the colony, implying it was colonial in its taste, spirit, creativity, and expression while trying to embody the language of modernity. Thus, by examining the history of prison buildings in colonial Senegal, the book adds a new dimension to the processes and motives behind the production of particular architectural styles in colonial Africa and helps insert Africa into a more global history by providing a uniquely comparative study of colonialism, architecture, and punishment. SOURCES AND CHAPTER SUMMARIES This book gives the first-ever comprehensive study of prison architecture and punishment in colonial Senegal. It is based primarily on archival evidence collected in Senegal (Archives Nationales du Sénégal [ANS]) and in France (Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer [ANOM]) in Aix-en-Provence, including administrative correspondence, prison reports, inspection and investigation records, medical reports, court records, and letters written by inmates to their families and different colonial authorities about their detention conditions. I gathered most of the data on prisons from the Sous-Série 3F of the Fonds Sénégal Ancien on prisons in colonial Senegal.122 The series M and 6M respectively on justice in Senegal and the native justice system also contain significant information on imprisonment, mainly statistics on prison populations. Despite their abundance, these documents present some limitations because they reflect the views of colonial authorities and remain silent on inmates’ reactions or perspectives. However, the most important information on prison designs and forms is found on the archives of the Service des Travaux Publics (Série 4 P). These include pictures, images, plans, maps, and drawings. By examining these materials, I have been able not only to identify clear patterns in prison designs and models and read in them the practice of punishment but also to reconstruct the internal world of colonial prisons in Senegal. Another particularly useful set of documents in the archives consists of letters written by inmates. I use the letters to flesh out their not-so-hidden world thanks to ill-designed prisons and also to show how inmates redefined and reclaimed the penal spaces to their advantage. As the rich post-colonial literature has focused on retrieving subaltern voices and reading resistance from colonial texts,123 inmates’ perspectives in the history of imprisonment in Africa can no longer be ignored. What is needed at this time is an in-depth knowledge of such agency, a response to Michelle Perrot’s call for bringing

18

Introduction

prisoners into the picture.124 Therefore, by placing the colonial prison at the center of an analysis of local experiences of colonial punishment, this book reveals much about how Africans understood and sometimes influenced the world of prisons. As such, the book contributes to recent literature that presents colonial institutions as sites of contestations. Sources from the Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiaire (DAP) offer detailed data on the evolution of the prison population in Senegal and the politics and policies of prisons after independence. For the postcolonial period, contemporary newspaper coverage offers valuable unofficial sources of information as well. State-owned and private newspapers provide different accounts of life behind bars as well as popular views and attitudes toward prisons. Since the 1990s, media coverage on prisons has been growing thanks to a flourishing private newspaper business that keeps prisons and prisoners in the spotlight. The book also relies on oral sources. My long-time interest in prisons and rapport with some officials in the penitentiary administration facilitated access to prisons and prisoners, but not to all the information I wished to get. Forty interviews with inmates and prison staffers were conducted in Senegal in 2013. Despite the small number, those interviews were very informative and helped me learn more about prisoners’ perceptions of their world, prison conditions, prison life, popular representations of prisons, and the challenges and rewards of working in prisons. I visited the MAC in Thiès, in SaintLouis, in Rufisque,125 the camp pénal de Liberté VI and the MAF (Maison d’arrêt des femmes) de Liberté VI126; both institutions are in Dakar. The book is organized in three parts totaling six chapters plus an introduction and appendix. The introduction sets down the major themes and arguments of the book, situates it in the relevant literature, provides an overview of the history of imprisonment in colonial Senegal, and briefly discusses the sources and methods. The first part of the book provides a history of penal policies in colonial Senegal. Chapter 1, “Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal, 1817–1950,” retraces the emergence and evolution of prisons in Senegal. It locates the rise of prisons in the context of the early presence of the French in Senegal, the end of the slave trade in the region, the conquest of the territory, the religious movements of the late nineteenth century, and the politics and the economy of the colonial state. The chapter also explores the creation of the justice system in colonial Senegal and the legislation that consolidated the prison system, the politics of imprisonment, the overlapping of and tensions between the indigenous methods of punishments and the colonial legal system and the rationalization and codification of indigenous methods of punishment within the colonial legal system. The evolution and develop-



Introduction 19

ment of the prison system in colonial Senegal also became visible in the native system of the Indigènat system, which had the biggest influence in shaping the colonial prison. Chapter 2, “Prison Location: Controlling Men and Enforcing Labor,” is concerned with the geographical history of prisons in colonial Senegal. It centers on the role of prison location as a spatial expression of control as well as the politics and economics of prison location in French Senegal. The essence of prison architecture and punishment in colonial Senegal cannot be understood in isolation from the ways in which prisons were specifically located across the colony. The location of prisons informed on their architectural styles through the availability of existing building materials and the general architectural styles in the area. By looking at the geographical pattern of the locations of prisons in colonial Senegal, the chapter advances the argument that prison location was a metaphor for spatial order, social control, and labor policies. Prisons were characterized by their marked geographical locations, thus enhancing the visibility of imprisonment as a chief form of punishment. In 1820, the French established the first prison in Senegal, and by 1900, prisons mushroomed rapidly across the colony. The chapter reveals that the location of prisons followed the pattern of French expansion and rule in Senegal as prisons were anchored around early towns, forts, commercial enclaves, trading posts, colonial towns, and administrative districts. In 1960, the French departed from Senegal, leaving behind thirty-three penal facilities. This chapter argues that the thoughtful locations of prisons served several purposes; prison sites created a sense of “territoriality” and became a metaphor for a spatial order. Also, chapter 2 contends that prison location in French Senegal served as a metaphor for isolation. Some prisons fanned out from islands into uninhabitable places while others were built in secluded areas to isolate inmates from European communities. The chapter’s examination of the penal camps, which were created beginning in the 1930s, reveals that practical considerations also dictated the locations of prisons in Senegal. The colonial state relied heavily on penal labor to build and maintain infrastructure. Therefore, penal camps were attuned to the rhythm of public work sites that crisscrossed the colony in every direction. The chapter concludes that in colonial Senegal, this “geography of detention and imprisonment,”127 a phrase I borrow from geographers Lauren L. Martin and Matthew L. Mitchelson, was located at the crossroads of social control, public safety, and labor needs. The second part of the book looks at prison architecture and penal experience. In chapter 3, “The Architecture of Repression: Prison Buildings and Designs in Colonial Senegal (1833–1946),” I use architectural evidence to discuss prison designs to reconstruct the diversity and evolution of penal

20

Introduction

architectural forms from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. I also show how imprisonment was architecturally articulated in the colonial prisons. The chapter opens with a discussion on the typology of prison buildings, revealing that prison edifices did not conform to one another. It also explores how punishment translated into punitive architectural forms and designs and how they evolved in the process. By examining the politics of prison designs, we gain an understanding of the practices of punishment within the colonial prisons. This chapter argues that the architecture of prisons in French Senegal conveyed meanings about imprisonment and colonial power in Senegal. The meanings embedded in it were of repression, proved by horrible living conditions in poorly designed and built prisons and dilapidated facilities. The chapter closes with a discussion of the designers and builders of prisons as well as the economics of prison construction. It makes the case that the inadequacy of prison funds and the colonial state’s patchwork approach to prisons overshadowed the architectural dimension of most facilities and shed light on the level of social deprivation and the degree of frugality in the colonial penal world. In chapter 4, “Prison Architecture and Patterns of Surveillance, Life, and Discipline,” I examine the impact of architecture on communication, life, and discipline within the colonial prisons in Senegal, drawing particular attention to the textual description of their buildings. I situate this analysis in the context of the wider debate about the connections between institutional architecture, techniques of social control, and mechanisms of discipline. This chapter posits the argument that in colonial Senegal, prisoners were confined in penal facilities where power, knowledge, and forms rarely overlapped. It also argues that the architecture of prisons in French Senegal was neither the conventional architecture of discipline praised by reformers in France and the rest of Europe as the salutary way to reform inmates nor a Foucauldian disciplinary architecture that centered on the soul, not the body, of prisoners. Rather, it was an architecture that placed Africans in the center of disciplinary practices that reflected that prisons were entirely repressive. The last part of the chapter charts attempts by French authorities to equip prisons with rehabilitation devices and the confused reformation policies adopted by consecutive colonial governments. Chapter 5, “Redesigning the Colonial Prison: African Responses to Imprisonment,” brings prisoners into the picture. This book is not solely about prison architecture. It is also concerned with inmates, to make the history of imprisonment in colonial Senegal an episode to be written and understood from prisoners’ perspectives. The chapter looks at the impact of imprisonment on inmates. It argues that African prisoners developed common responses to imprisonment around the architecture of prisons, therefore transforming prisons in the process because those responses occurred partly



Introduction 21

because the prisons were badly designed and built. The chapter also uses examples of escapes, riots, suicides, refusal to work, and prisoners’ letters to demonstrate that the practices of punishment and discipline to which prisoners were subjected in Senegal engendered a radical response that cannot be repressed. By and large, this chapter argues that the colonial prisons in Senegal cannot be placed under the umbrella of Foucault’s power and knowledge approach because a different form of power exists there, a power that was not solely within the hands of prison officers but also within those of prisoners, thanks to deficient architectures. The third part of the book chronicles the history of prisons in postcolonial Senegal. The final chapter, chapter 6, “Architectural Makeover: The Legacy of Colonial Prisons in Senegal,” investigates the reappropriation of colonial prisons after 1960 when Senegal became independent. It develops an understanding of the legacy of colonial prisons by looking at their impact on the prison in post-colonial Senegal and how the current crisis of the penal system unfolded. It also delves into the policies of prison construction after independence. Therefore, by focusing on how prisons have functioned since 1960 and the difficulties authorities in independent Senegal have faced in reappropriating colonial prisons, the chapter examines the continuities and changes between the colonial and post-colonial periods as far as the architecture of prisons is concerned. A discussion of the architectural makeover of prisons takes center stage in the chapter, revealing that independent Senegal inherited aging and crumbling prison facilities that had been given a jolt of architectural life over the decades. While the analysis of prison reforms initiated by successive administrations since 1960 suggests that the impetus for a deep overhaul of the prison system was thwarted by understaffing, security concerns, and limited funding, thus echoing the patchwork approach of the colonial state. Chapter 6 also advances the argument that to better understand the history of prison architecture and punishment in Senegal, more research is needed, mainly in the context of a new policy of prison construction initiated by the Senegalese government. The future research should concentrate on establishing a link between the new prison construction program and the quality of detention conditions, but also a link between the architecture of the newly built prisons and changes in punishment approaches to better address the legitimate concerns that plague the prison system in Senegal. The book ends with an appendix that provides an interesting description and discussion of the state of prisons and detention conditions in independent Senegal from prisoners’ perspectives. Prisoners deserve special consideration because they are, of course, the focus of this study, but also because of their impact on the debate about prisons in Senegal, namely after the Rebeuss

22

Introduction

prison riot. The oral data collected from a small sample of prisoners and staffers in five different prisons does not bear out a complete assessment of prison conditions in the country. Therefore, this study is not drawing sweeping conclusions about those conditions. However, the respondents shared stunning prison experiences and narratives that indicate noticeable limitations in the management of prisons in Senegal and extend the debate about the true nature of imprisonment in Senegal. The history of prison architecture and punishment in Senegal becomes even more interesting when one considers the perspectives of prisoners themselves. The book opens with stories about prisoners and ends with stories from prisoners. NOTES 1.  On the riot, see Mark Babatunde, “Prisoners Riot at Rebeuss Prison in Senegal,” Face2Face Africa, accessed October 17, 2017, https://face2faceafrica.com/ article/rebeuss-prison-du-senegal; “Senegal prisoner killed during riot becomes reform symbol,” News 24, accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.news24.com/.../ senegal-prisoner-killed-during-riot-becomes-symbol-20; Aida Grovestins, “Long Pre-trial Detention Overcrowds Senegal Prisons,” VOA News, accessed October 17, 2017, https://www.voanews.com/a/long/detention...Senegal-prisons/3592691.html. 2.  MAC is the acronym for Maison d’Arrêt et de Correction, translated as House of Detention and Correction. 3.  “MAC: Grève de la fain des détenus: Après Rebeuss, Thiès se rebelles,” Sunu Site, accessed June 1, 2018, http://sunusite.blogspot.com/2016/09/mac-greve-de-lafaim-des-detenus-apres.html. 4. In September 2006, ten years prior to the Rebeuss riot, fifty-two inmates escaped from the Thiès prison. On the escape, see “Thiès: 52 prisoniers s’évadent de la prison, les forces de l’ ordre à leur trousses,” Seneweb.com, accessed June 2, 2018, http://www.seneweb.com/news/Faits-Divers/thies-52-d-tenus-s-vadent -de-la-prison-les-forces-de-l-ordre-leurs-trousses_n_5263.html. On April 2008, inmates at the Thiès same prison went on a hunger strike to aggrieve their poor diet and detention conditions, see M. Bâ, “Mac de Thiès: les détenus mettent fin à leur diète,” Rewmi.com, accessed June 2, 2018, http://www.rewmi.com/mac-de-thies -detenus-mettent-fin-a-diete.html. 5.  On these issues, see “Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Senegal,” (United Nations General Assembly, 23 March 2009): 8. 6.  Hans Toch, “Warehouses for People?” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 478, Our Crowded Prisons (1985): 67. 7. Gresham M. Sykes, The Society of Captives: Study of a Maximum-Security Prison (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 110. 8. “Prisons in Senegal,” Prison Insider, accessed May 25, 2018, https://www .prison-insider.com/countryprofile/prisoninsenegal.



Introduction 23

9.  “Senegal: Freedom in the World,” Freedom House, accessed May 28, 2018, https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2016/senegal. 10.  “Prisons in Senegal.” 11. Ibid. 12.  Dakar’s status as the capital of Senegal and the country’s largest city mirrored its large prison population. 13.  Grovestins “Pre-trial Detention.” 14.  Ibrahima Thioub, Babacar Bâ et Ibra Séne, “Sénégal: un système pénitentiaire en crise. Acteurs et enjeux des débats en cours,” Revue française d’histoire d’Outremer 86, no. 324–235 (1999): 125–50. 15.  “Prisons Sénégalaises: C’ est la bagne!” Rewmi.com, accessed May 29, 2018, http://www.rewmi.com/prisons-senegalaises-cest-le-bagne.html. The French word bagne means hard labor prison. 16.  Cheikh Sadibou Doucouré, “Surpopulaiton carcérale des prisons au Sénégal: Quelles solutions,” DakarActu.com, accessed May 25, 2018, https://www.dakaractu .com/Surpopulation-carcerale-des-prisons-du Senegal-Quelles-solutions-par-Cheikh -Sadibou Doucoure_a118760.html. 17. “Prisons in Senegal,” Prison Insider, accessed May 25, 2018, https://www .prison-insider.com/countryprofile/prisoninsenegal. 18. “Senegal,” World Prison Brief Data, accessed May 25, 2018, http://www .prisonstudies.org/country/Senegal. 19. Ibid. 20.  For an overview of prison populations around the world, see World Prison Brief Data, http://www.prisonstudies.org. 21.  Toch, “Warehouses for People?,” 70. 22.  See John Irwin, The Warehouse Prison: Disposal of the New Dangerous Class (Los Angeles: Roxbury Pub., 2005); David J. Rothman, “The Crime of Punishment,” in Punishment and Social Control, eds. T. Bloomberg and S. Cohen (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 2003), 407. 23.  Ibid., 59. 24.  Ibid., 58. 25.  Hans Toch, Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival (New York: Free Press, 1997). 26.  Jack A. Goldstone and Bert Useem, “Prison Riots as Microrevolutions: An Extension of State-Centered Theories of Revolution,” American Journal of Sociology 104, no. 4 (1999): 990. 27.  “Reform symbol.” 28.  Mouhamadou Bâ, “Situation carcérale du Sénégal. Aucune prison n’a étè construite depuis l’époque coloniale,” Rewmi.com, accessed May 29, 2018, http://www .rewmi.com/situation-carcerale-du-senegal-aucune-prison-n-a-ete-construite-depuis -l-epoque-coloniale_a86122.html. 29.  Grovestins, “Pre-trial Detention.” 30. Ibid. 31.  “Senegal,” World Prison Brief Data.

24

Introduction

32.  Mamadou Salif Dieng, “La prison de Rebeuss réhabilitée,” Seneweb, accessed October 17, 2017, https://www.seneweb.com/news/Societe/la-prison-de-rebeuss -rehabilitee_n_215683.html. 33.  “Les 37 prisons du Sénégal seront réhabilitées en 2018 (minister),” Senenews .com, accessed May 25, 2018, https://senenews.com/actualites/les-37-prisons-du -senegal-seront-rebabilitees-en-2018-ministre_212091.html. 34.  Oumou Anne, “Prés de 5 milliards consacrés l’alimentation des détenus dans les prisons. Modernisation des maisons d’arrêt et humanisation de la vie des détenus,” Seneplus.com, accessed May 25, 2018, http://www.seneplus.com/societe/pres-de -5-milliards-consacres-lalimentation-dans-les-prisons. 35.  “National Consultation on the Situation of Prisons in Senegal: Improvement of the Conditions of Detention, Social Integration and Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education,” Dakar, Senegal, May 23–24, 2017, UNESCO, www.unesco.org/ new/fileadmin/MUTLIMEDIA/FIELD/DAKAR/pdf/... 36.  “Reform symbol.” 37.  Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao, Discipline and the other Body: Correction, Corporeality, Colonialism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 26. 38.  Ibrahima Thioub, “Juvenile Marginality and Incarceration during the Colonial Period: The First Penitentiary Schools in Senegal, 1888–1927,” in A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, ed. Florence Bernault (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003), 79–96; from the author, “La gestion de la marginalité juvénile dans la colonie du Sénégal: de l’abolition de l’esclavage aux écoles pénitentiaires, 1848–1906,” Les Cahiers Histoire et Civilizations 1 (1990): 117–30. 39.  Ibrahima Thioub, “La santé des détenus dans les prisons coloniales,” Revue française d’histoire d’Outre-mer 86, no. 324–325 (1999): 29–65. 40.  Ibra Séne, “Colonisation Française et Exploitation de la main d’oeuvre Carcérale au Sénégal: De L’emploi des Détenus des camps pénaux sur les Chantiers des Travaux Routiers,” French Colonial History 5 (2004): 153–71. 41.  Babacar Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral pénal au Sénégal, 1790–1960. Histoire de la punition pénitentiaire coloniale” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 2004). 42. Chérif Daha Bâ, “Marginalité et exclusion au Sénégal. Les comportements délictuels et criminels dans la vallée du fleuve Sénégal (1810–1970)” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 2002). 43.  Babacar Bâ, “Histoire du personnel pénitentiaire colonial, 1863–1960” (Mémoire de Diplôme d’Études Approfondies, UCAD, Histoire, 1998). 44.  Dior Konaté, “Ultimate Exclusion: Imprisoned Women in Senegal,” in Prison and Confinement in Africa, 155–64; from the author, “Sénégal: l’emprisonement des femmes de l’époque coloniale à nos jours,” Revue Française d’Histoire d’Outre-mer 86, no. 324–325 (1999): 79–98; “When Words Mean a Lot: The Experiences of Female Prisoners in Senegal and the Effects of their Incarceration on their Families,” Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies 13 (2013): 20–35; “L’histoire des modes d’incarcération au Sénégal: les femmes en prison, 1925–1995” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1997); “Les conditions de détention des femmes dans les prisons coloniales du Sénégal, 1925–1960” (Mémoire de Diplôme d’Études Approfondies, UCAD, Histoire, 1998).



Introduction 25

45. Ibrahima Thioub, “Sénégal: la prison à l’époque coloniale. Significations, évitements et évasions,” in Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique: du 19e siècle à nos jours, ed. Florence Bernault (Paris: Éditions Karthala, 1999), 285–304. 46. Ibra Séne, “Contribution à l’histoire des établissements pénitentiaries au Sénégal. La prison de Saint-Louis, de 1920 à 1944” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1998); from the same author, “Crime, Punishment, and Colonization: A History of the Prison of Saint-Louis and the Development of the Penitentiary System in Senegal, ca. 1830–ca. 1940” (PhD diss., Michigan State University, 2010). Babacar Bâ, “L’incarcération à Dakar: 1930–1960. Étude de la population pénale et du vécu carceral” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1997). 47.  Thioub, Bâ, et Séne “système pénitentiaire en crise,” 125. 48.  Thioub, “Penitentiary schools,” 83. 49.  Thioub, “La santé des détenus.” 50.  Séne, “la prison de Saint-Louis” and “A History of the Prison of Saint-Louis.” 51.  Florence Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa,” in Prison and Confinement in Africa, 16–22. 52.  Alain Sinou, Comptoirs et villes coloniales du Sénégal (St-Louis, Gorée, Dakar) (Paris: Karthala-ORSTOM, 1993), 140. 53.  David Arnold, “India: The Contested Prison,” in Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, eds. Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown (Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press, 2007), 157. 54. On imprisonment and colonialism in Africa, see Bernault, ed., Prison and Confinement in Africa; Bernault, ed., Prison et châtiments en Afrique; Daniel Branch, “Imprisonment and Colonialism in Kenya. c.1930–1952: Escaping the Carceral Archipelago,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 38, no. 2 (2005): 239–65; Caroline Elkins, Imperial Reckonings: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005); Viviane Saleh-Hanna and Chris Affor, Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2008); Dikötter and Brown, eds., Cultures of Confinement; David Anderson, Histories of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War and the End of Empire (London: Phoenix, 2006). 55.  On imprisonment and colonialism in Asia and Australia, see Peter B. Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille: A History of Prisons and Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862–1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Clare Anderson, The Indian Uprising of 1857–8: Prisons, Prisoners, and Rebellion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Dikötter and Brown, Cultures of Confinement; Frank Dikötter, Crime, Punishment, and the Prison in Modern China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); David Arnold, “The Colonial Prison: Power, Knowledge, and Penology in Nineteenth-Century India,” in A Subaltern Studies Reader, 1986–1995, ed. Ranajit Guha (London: Oxford University Press, 1994), 140–78; Satadru Sen, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in Andaman Islands (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Frank Dikotter, “‘Paradise of Rascals’: Colonialism, Punishment, and the Prison in Hong Kong (1841–1898),” Crime, History, and Societies 8, no. 1 (2004): 49–63; Alice Ballard, Exile to Paradise: Savagery and Civilization in Paris and the South Pacific, 1790–1900 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press,

26

Introduction

2001); Jacqueline Dutton, “Imperial Eyes on the Pacific Prize: French Visions of a Perfect Penal Colony,” in Discovery and Empire: The French in the South Seas, ed. John West-Sooby (Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2013): 245–282. 56. In the Caribbean and Latin America, Stephen Toth, Beyond Papillon: The French Overseas Penal Colonies, 1854–1952 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2006); Diana Paton, No Bond but the Law: Punishment, Race, and Gender in Jamaican State Formation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004); Carlos Aguirre, The Criminals of Lima and their Worlds: The Prison Experience, 1850–1935 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); Peter Redfield, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guinea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Louis-José Barbançon, L’ Archipel des forçats: Histoire du bagne de Nouvelle-Calédonie (1863–1931) (Lille: Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2003). 57. Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille. 58. Anderson, The Indian Uprising. 59. Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille, 45. 60. Dikötter, Prison in Modern China, 371. 61.  Arnold, “Penology,” 164. 62.  Ibid., 170. 63.  Branch, “Escaping,” 265. 64. Elkins, Imperial Reckonings. 65.  Dikotter and Brown, Cultures of Confinement, 1. 66. Pieter Spierenburg, “Four Centuries of Prison History: Punishment, Suffering, the Body, and Power,” in Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500–1950, eds. Norbert Finzsch and Robert Jütte (Washington, DC and Cambridge: German Historical Institute and Cambridge University Press, 1996), 17. 67. Norval Morris and David J. Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). 68.  Norbert Finzsch and Robert Jütte, eds., Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North American, 1500–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 69.  Patricia O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth-Century France (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982). 70. Michelle Perrot, “Delinquency and the Penitentiary in Nineteenth-Century France,” in Deviants and the Abandoned in French Society: Selections from the Annales, sociétés, économies, civilisations, volume IV, eds. Robert Foster and Orest A. Ranum (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), 215. 71.  Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750–1850 (London: Penguin, 1980); Robin Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue: English Prison Architecture, 1750–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); Iona Spens, Architecture of Incarceration (London: Academic Editions, 1994); Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978); David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown,



Introduction 27

and Co., 1971); Janet Semple, Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); Norman B. Johnston, The Human Cage: A Brief of Prison Architecture (New York: Walker, 1973); from the same author, Forms of Constraint: A History of Prison Architecture (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000); Finzsch and Jütte, Institutions of Confinement. 72.  Lindsay Prior, “The Architecture of the Hospital: A Study of Spatial Organization and Medical Knowledge,” The British Journal of Sociology 39, no. 1 (1988): 93. 73. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum, 206. 74.  After the publication of Foucault’s book, French historians criticized his ideas by looking at the rupture operated in the nineteenth-century French prisons, see Jacques-Guy Petit, Ces peines obscures. La prison pénale en France, 1780–1875 (Paris: Fayard, 1990); Jacques-Guy Petit, ed., La prison, le bagne et l’histoire (Paris: Librairie des Méridiens, 1984); O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment; Christian Carlier, La prison aux champs: les colonies d’enfants délinquants du nord de la France au XIXe (Paris: Éditions de l’Atelier, 1994); Jacques-Guy Petit, Nicole Castan et André Zysberg, Histoire des galères, bagnes et prisons en France de l’Ancien Régime (Paris: Privat, 2004). 75. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 141–49. 76.  Ibid., 200. 77.  Morris and Rothman, History of the Prison, xiii. 78. Colin Jones, “The Construction of the Hospital Patient in Early Modern France,” in Institutions of Confinement, 73. 79. Johnston, Forms of Constraints. 80. Evans, Fabrication of Virtue, 1. 81.  Ibid., 6. 82. Johnston, The Human Cage. 83. Johnston, Forms of Constraint. 84. Johnston, The Human Cage, 43. 85.  Alfred Hopkins, Prisons and Prison Buildings (New York: Roger and Manson Co., 1918). 86.  Nikolaus Pevsner, A History of Building Types (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976). 87.  Ibid., foreword. 88.  Ibid., 33. 89.  Thomas A. Markus, Buildings and Power: Freedom and Control in the Origin Modern Buildings (London: Routledge, 1993). 90. Brian B. Taylor, “Rethinking Colonial Architecture: Demythologizing Colonial Architecture, Forms, and Models,” MIMAR 13: Architecture in Development (1984): 25. 91.  Ibid., 22. 92.  Ibid., 25. 93.  Ibid., 22–25. 94.  Fasssil Demissie, “Representing Architecture in South Africa,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 30 (1997): 350. 95.  Taylor, “Rethinking,” 17.

28

Introduction

96.  Robert Tittler, Architecture and Power: The Town Hall and the English Urban Community c.1500–1640 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 1. 97.  Ibid., 1. 98. Nnandi Elleh, Architecture and Power in Africa (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003). 99. Sinou, Villes coloniales du Sénégal. 100.  Peter Mark, “Portuguese” Style and Luso-African Identity: Precolonial Senegambia, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002). 101.  Demissie, “Representing.” 102. Gwendolyn Wright, The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991). 103.  Zeynep Çelik, Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830–1914 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008); from the author, Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers Under French Rule (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). 104.  Nezar AlSayyad, ed., Forms of Dominance. On the Architecture and Urbanism of the Colonial Enterprise (Aldershot, UK: Avebury, 1992). 105.  Steven J. Salm and Toyin Falola, eds., African Urban Spaces in Historical Perspective (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2005). 106.  Thomas M. Shaw, Irony and Illusion in the Architecture of Imperial Dakar (Levistone, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006). 107.  Mia Fuller, Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities, and Italian Imperialism (London: Routledge, 2007). 108.  Brian McLaren, Architecture and Tourism in Italian Colonial Libya: An Ambivalent Modernism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005). 109.  Fassil Demissie, ed., Colonial Architecture and Urbanism: Intertwined and Contested Histories (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012). 110.  Taylor, “Rethinking,” 22. 111.  Kim Dovey, “Place/Power,” Architectural Design 65 (1995): 40. 112.  Gwendolyn Wright, “Cultural History: Europeans, Americans, and the Meanings of Space,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64 (2005): 437. 113.  Demissie, “Representing,” 350. 114. AlSayyad, Forms of Dominance. 115. Elleh, Architecture, 16. 116.  Mia Fuller, “Building Power: Italy’s Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1923–1940,” Cultural Anthropology 3 (1988): 455. 117.  Krystyna von Henneberg, “Imperial Uncertainties: Architectural Syncretism and Improvisation in Fascist Colonial Libya,” Journal of Contemporary History 31 (1996): 382. 118. Wright, The Politics of Design, 300. 119. Mark Crinson, Empire Building: Orientalism and Victorian Architecture (London: Routledge, 1996), 10. 120. Mark, “Portuguese” Style, 1.



Introduction 29

121.  Jean P. Bourdieu and Trinh T. Minh-ha, Foreword to Drawn from African Dwellings, ed. Jean P. Bourdieu and Trinh T. Minh-ha (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), xi. On African traditional architecture, see also Susan Denyer, African Traditional Architecture: An Historical and Geographical Perspective (London: Heinemann, 1982). 122. Ngouda Kane, Répertoire Série F: Sécurité Publique au Sénégal. Police, Gendarmerie, Prisons (Dakar: Direction des Archives du Sénégal, 1997). 123.  Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 271–317. 124. Michelle C. Perrot, Michel Foucault, and Maurice Agulhon, L’impossible prison: recherches sur le système pénitentiaire au XIXe siècle (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1980). 125.  The MAC of Rufisque is a women’s prison. 126.  MAF is the acronym for Maison d’ârret des femmes. The MAF de Liberté VI in Dakar is a prison designated for female offenders awaiting trial. 127.  Lauren L. Martin and Matthew L. Mitchelson, “Geographies of Detention and Imprisonment: Interrogating Spatial Practices of Confinement, Discipline, Law, and State Power,” Geography Compass 3 (2009): 459–77.

Part I

PENAL POLITICS IN COLONIAL SENEGAL

Chapter 1

Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950)

In February 1936, Colonial Inspector Monguillot arrived in Senegal charged with the critical task of investigating the colony’s prisons. In a lengthy report, Monguillot did not mince words about the failed mission of prisons in colonial Senegal. Describing their awful conditions, he starkly wrote: “The purpose of prisons for moral education is no longer effective and efforts to rehabilitate inmates are completely absent in our prisons. Today, the prison remains a neglected institution. We have to admit the fact that the penitentiary institution has a significant place among other social services to deliver in our colonies. Thus, it deserves our attention.”1 He then urged the colonial administration in Senegal “to reorganize the world of prisons,”2 which in his words, “was very chaotic due to a lack of coordinated actions.”3 The Monguillot mission, which occurred more than a century after the introduction of prisons in Senegal by the French, indicated the failure of carceral policy, notably the absence of disciplinary practices and rehabilitation. Monguillot’s report dubbed the colonial prisons as “neglected institutions.”4 Monguillot deplored the shortcomings of the administration and staff, the institutionalization of prison labor, detention conditions, and capacity problems, and he posited the need for reform. He also underlined prisons’ structural shortcomings. He criticized the rectangular arrangement of penal wards at the prison in Dakar, Senegal’s largest penitentiary, arguing that it made the surveillance of inmates very difficult. He suggested a radial disposition, instead, for better surveillance and discipline of inmates. Colonial Inspector Monguillot rightly diagnosed the impact of poor prison architectures on the disciplinary treatment of inmates. This diagnosis was quickly followed by an appeal for more and bigger prisons to improve detention conditions, ease congestion, segregate the sexes, and separate petty offenders from hardened criminals, and finally to reorganize prison labor 33

34

Chapter 1

through the creation of penal camps. Reform of the prison system in Senegal was meant to align the system with the overall mission of carceral institutions, namely the redemption of inmates, and above all “to put order and method”5 in a prison system that was déshérité.6 What was significant about Monguillot’s remarks is that they remained germane for decades afterward and were still on the laundry list of grievances of prison officials until the end of French rule in Senegal. Three years after the Monguillot Mission, the French colonial minister, Marius Moutet, ordered Colonial Inspector Moretti to head another mission to investigate prisons in French West Africa (FWA). Moretti’s report on Senegal was murky and echoed Monguillot’s critiques. He described most prisons as very dilapidated, thus positing his predecessor’s recommendations were not followed.7 Likewise, Moretti emphasized the particular need for new prison construction and the repair and extension of existing ones, but more importantly, he appealed for a reform of the federal prison system to better harmonize what his colleague Monguillot called the “repressive action and the moral and social treatment of inmates.”8 Until 1939, there was no unified prison legislation in FWA except the Decree of January 22, 1927, which organized prison labor at the federation level. The preceding missions were a tacit acknowledgment by France of the inherent problems in the prison system in Senegal. As early as 1918, the colonial minister had ordered an investigation of prisons in the cercle of SineSaloum, partly because “it was the most populous and maybe the richest cercle in Senegal.”9 Colonial Inspector Ravel, the lead investigator, had underlined back then the near absence of prison facilities in Foudiougne, Fatick, Nioro, and Kaffrine, an issue, he contended, had been raised by the cercle’s judicial authorities fifteen years before his visit. Even Kaolack, Senegal’s fastest growing city from 1910 onward and Sine-Saloum’s largest city, had only a low-capacity prison to house its growing penal population. However, these reports were holistic or thorough. The first report of this genre was produced following the 1936 Monguillot mission, which heralded efforts to reform the whole prison system in Senegal and consequently in FWA. For that reason, it came at a very critical time in the history of both regions. Significantly, attempts at prison reform in Senegal and FWA coincided with the introduction of repressive policies and a resort to extensive use of imprisonment in West Africa by the Popular Front in 1936. The Monguillot mission occurred under the tenure of Marius Moutet, a fierce opponent of Maréchal Pétain. A four-time colonial minister with extensive expertise in colonial issues, Moutet had expressed serious concerns about prisons in the French colonies, causing him to suppress, for instance, the bagne of Cay-



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 35

enne in 1936.10 Giving his seeming commitment to reforming French penal policies, Moutet later repealed the Indigénat code, a symbol of mass imprisonment in Senegal, and prompted an inspection of Senegalese prisons, an institution that was imported from France more than a hundred years earlier but was the inert arm of the colonial justice system. Little wonder then that he welcomed Monguillot’s recommendations a few months later, as evidenced in a letter addressed to Boisson, acting governor-general of FWA, urging him to overhaul the federal prison system. In the letter, Moutet advocated for more humane treatment of inmates, sharing Monguillot’s view that “prisons held a significant place among other social services provided in the colonies and they deserved our attention.”11 Three weeks later, after receiving the letter, Boisson issued an order commanding governors to apply Monguillot’s recommendations in their respective colonies.12 And since Senegal was the focus of his mission, he addressed a special letter to its governor and the administrator of Dakar to overhaul their prisons as well. Officials in Paris had perceived the colonial prison as a social service provided to Africans, thus insisting on its moral foundation. But I argue that it was instead a repressive social service, not delivered but enforced and forced on Africans. From 1820, when prison first emerged in Senegal, until 1960, when the colony became independent, thirty-three prisons were scattered across the territorial space. During this time, Senegal changed economically, politically, socially, and culturally. Two hundred years later, overcrowding, escapes, dilapidated and understaffed buildings poorly equipped with health, sanitary, and rehabilitation facilities, continue plaguing the Senegalese prison system, thus conveying its colony legacy and suggesting that the postcolonial government also failed to modernize its prisons. Prisons were part of French colonizing efforts in Senegal. Yet, incoherent political will and ambiguous punishment ideas, which contradicted Foucault’s discipline and normalization, characterized penal policies there. Over the course of French rule, prisons underwent significant changes that reflected not only changing metropolitan ideas about punishment and imprisonment but changing colonial ideas about the nature and types of punishment to inflict on Africans. Thus, the word “prison” was encoded with multiple meanings that converged around those shifting punishment ideas and penal policies that rested upon political, medical, racial, cultural, economic, and social concerns. Denise Bouche best captured the layered meanings of the term “prison” and the interchange between imprisonment and alternative forms of confinement. In her study of the villages de liberté (freedom villages) in FWA, Bouche points to the difficulty of distinguishing prisons from villages de liberté because harsh working conditions turned freedom villages into

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bagnes.13 She further contended that some captives and freeborn individuals were actually detained in freedom villages as a result of court sentences while in provinces where there were no freedom villages, freed captives were kept in prisons. Thus, in the context of the slave emancipation, freedom villages were prisons by another name. When prisons first arose in 1820, words like bagne (hard-labor prison), geôle (jail), fortress, and dungeons were used interchangeably to label what stood as prisons. Years later, in 1863, when the French erected the first prison building in Senegal, the prison of Saint-Louis, it was designated as the bagne of Saint-Louis despite having few of the characteristics associated with bagnes, this “poisoned” the term, as will be discussed in chapter 3. As the colonial period progressed and the number of prisons grew rapidly, the classification of prisons into houses of arrest, houses of correction, houses of arrest and correction, penitentiaries schools, and penal camps along the same lines as metropolitan prisons, became fictive because it did not match the classification of inmates. Prisoners were circulated in and out of prisons regardless of the types of crimes they committed or their age, gender, and length of sentences. This ambiguity underscored the lack of clarity on the real functions of prisons in Senegal and the colonial state’s take on punishment. Therefore, this ambiguity justifies the need to uncover the role of prisons in the colonial state. How was this institution shaped to serve as a tool for French rulers? To ascertain this, one must examine the forces underlying the creation of prisons, their evolution and transformation, and the real essence of prisons in the colonial legal system. THE RISE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRISON IN SENEGAL The rise, evolution, and transformation of prisons in colonial Senegal occurred in a landscape formed by the processes of French conquest, and the social, political, economic, and cultural changes this engendered. Prisons arose at a time of political ferment that marked France’s reoccupation and conquest of Senegal. In 1817, the French recaptured Senegal, their oldest colony in Africa, from the British who had occupied the territory in the 1790s during the Napoleonic wars. Soon after, commercial control was the driving force in their conquest of the territory. To consolidate their influence, they erected along the Senegal River and the Atlantic coast a string of trading outposts, commercial factories, and fortifications. These facilities constituted a rudimentary form of settlements that later expanded thanks to the development of the trade in gum Arabic, Senegal’s main export commodity to France up until



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 37

the 1870s. The building of more forts on the coast precipitated the establishment of seasonal markets or escales that attracted European merchants who controlled the gum trade and the trade in slaves both headquartered in SaintLouis and Gorée, which at that time, formed the colony of Senegal. French desire for monopoly control of this trade as well as the government’s political interests caused France to embark on territorial conquest in Senegal. In 1817, France’s influence extended little beyond Saint-Louis and Gorée. But by the 1850 and 1860s, its reach had been expanded, in particular, under Governor Faidherbe who annexed Walo, Dimar, Toro, and Damga to the colony. Faidherbe’s tenure was a turning point in the conquest of Senegal. Historians credit him with organizing Senegal, politically, militarily, and administratively into a colony. He introduced the term cercle to designate the new territorial subdivisions, organized military troops known as Tirailleurs Sénégalais or Senegalese Riffles, and enforced an “annual head tax of three francs”14 in the annexed entities. While the French conquered the territory, their continuous protection of trade and other commercial activities dictated the construction of the Dakar harbor and transportation facilities in the 1860s, thus extending the early networks of trading posts and fortifications. If Saint-Louis owed its economic development to the gum trade,15 Gorée was indebted to the groundnut trade, a crop introduced in Senegal in the 1860s. The development of peanut production caused the growth of towns such as Rufisque and Dakar. In 1857, the French occupied Dakar and the sites of their colonization began to shift to the interior of the territory. Faidherbe’s successors reinforced their control of these areas and extended their conquest of the rest of Senegal, leading to the emergence of the colony of Senegal and Dependencies in the 1870s. The extension of peanut production to what became known as the Peanut Basin set off the conquest of the kingdoms of Cayor, Jolof, Walo, Sin, Salum, and Bawol, which were brought under French control by 1887. Aggressive policies of annexation carried out by Governor Clément-Thomas resulted in the control of Jolof and Fuuta by 1890.16 In the mid-1890s, the French defeated the last resistances and negotiated the pacification of the annexed territories. Consequently, in the late 1890s, the colony of Senegal extended from the Senegal River to the Saloum and Casamance Rivers. Yet the increasing instability of the conquered territory and the growing presence of a French community helped the French shift their focus from military to administrative, and judicial channels. Police stations, armies, courts, and prisons were created to sustain a new social order. The rise of a prison system in Senegal, however, followed the legal and administrative imbroglio associated with the establishment of a legal apparatus in Senegal and the subsequent changes in the metropolitan and colonial criminal laws.

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The Creation of the Colonial Legal System and the Emergence of the Prison The timeline of the organization of a justice system is crucial to understanding the distinctive features of the colonial prison and to delineating the historical conditions underlying its development. Judicial and penal reforms in Paris tended to influence thinking on policies in colonial Africa. Soon after they reoccupied Senegal, the French laid the foundations for a modern justice system. In 1817, Senegal was mainly composed of Saint-Louis and Gorée. Yet there was a growing awareness of crime and a new sense of urgency to deal with it. An 1821 commission appointed to devise a justice system in Senegal reported that except for the Civil Council of Saint-Louis (created during the French occupation of the city lasting from the early 1700s until the British occupation of Senegal in 1790), no form of judicial system existed in Senegal.17 The civil council, presided over by the governor, assisted by two navy officers, a clerk, and two African assessors, heard civil and criminal cases. Thus, beginning in 1817, the French forged a justice system that later provided the underpinnings of the colonial justice system in Senegal. On May 24, 1817, Governor Julien Schmaltz issued a decree creating a Council of Justice in Gorée. The goal was to spare the island’s residents the time to bring complaints, which were mainly of commercial nature, before the Civil Council of Saint-Louis.18 The establishment of a judiciary system was designed to deal with an increase in criminality and was closely connected with the development of trade and the need to protect French commercial interests in Senegal. A year later, Schmaltz pressured his government to open a court and promulgate French metropolitan laws in Senegal.19 In 1819, he reiterated his requests, claiming serious threats to commercial activities. He wrote: “the return of European merchants and traders from their gum trade voyages is a time of high looting of convoys while traitants (local merchants) complained about the difficulty to recover unpaid loans for they could not bring defaulters to justice.”20 According to David Robinson, “both groups sought protection for commerce.”21 Following suit, the Navy minister endorsed Schmaltz’s idea to adopt the Code of Commerce in Senegal, which brought all commercial matters before the Council of Justice of Saint-Louis.22 This local initiative did not completely deter threats to trading activities. Assessing their seriousness, Paris suggested sending criminal cases to France or to their colonies of Martinique and Guiana. However, this suggestion was dismissed by the trading communities because of the time required to travel to Europe and the inappropriateness of applying metropolitan laws to crimes that occurred in a much different socio-economic context. However, by 1819, full-scale attempts to create a justice system were launched.



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 39

On January 13, 1819, the minister of the Navy commissioned Manche to travel to Senegal to assess the state of the judiciary police, the surveillance of proximity, the hygiene and security of prisons, and the clerk offices in SaintLouis and Gorée.23 Manche was appointed as Procureur du Roi to Senegal by King Louis Philip. While he visited Senegal as an emissary of the king, the minister of the Navy ordered an investigation to assess whether the civil council of Senegal had the judicial authority to rule on criminal cases.24 The investigation concluded that no royal ordinance gave the civil council such prerogative and that between 1709 and 1790, the civil council had made no definitive rulings whatsoever but referred cases to the minister of the Navy for a ruling. The investigation also stated that no tribunals existed in Senegal, implying that the governor of Senegal, who back then tried cases of any kind, relied on no criminal code to make judgments.25 These conclusions were corroborated by Manche, who painted a gloomy picture of the situation and blamed Schmaltz for providing lip service to the criminal cases brought before him.26 Manche reported that in visiting Saint-Louis and Gorée, he found some kinds of very small disciplinary facilities, but no real prisons. Manche’s visit succeeded in clearing the way to the foundation of a system of criminal justice. The initial move to create prisons occurred a year after he left Senegal. In 1820, a commercial warehouse became Saint-Louis’s first prison.27 The same year, a rented house was converted into a prison to be called the geôle of Gorée.28 The establishment of these early so-called prisons opened the first window into the history of imprisonment in Senegal. Upon Manche’s return to France, the Navy Minister appointed a commission on December 22, 1819, to discuss plans for the adoption of metropolitan legal texts in Senegal. After the commission presented its conclusions to the Council of Ministers in two separate sessions,29 King Louis Philip signed the Royal Ordinance of January 7, 1822, which organized a justice system in Senegal.30 The governing law of Senegal for a long time, the ordinance created a tribunal de première instance and a Council of Appeals in Saint-Louis and retained the Council of Justice in Gorée. A president assisted by four notables, two Europeans, and two indigénes all appointed by the governor, assumed command of the tribunal de première instance. The president’s main functions included “checking the causes of detention and inmates’ complaints.”31 These early concerns about prisons indicated the role of imprisonment in the judicial system. Moreover, to guarantee that justice was fair, the 1822 ordinance deferred to the Council of Appeals of Saint-Louis knowledge of offenses, a decision driven by Manche’s criticism levied against the civil council, which in his words, “do not allow the defendants who appear before the civil council the right to appeal their cases.” Promulgation of the ordinance instituted a big shift in the rule of law and laid the foundation of a uniform justice system.

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However, the metropolitan legal legislation provided the underpinning for the emerging prison system in Senegal. French officials in Senegal continued to clamor for new legislation whenever it was deemed necessary. In 1823, Governor Roger contended that “the lack of metropolitan criminal legislations impeded the rule of law, giving headaches to judges in the Appeals Council.”32 During that time, only the Metropolitan Code of Civil Procedure was decreed in Senegal. To help alleviate his concerns, the minister of the Navy approved the promulgation of the 1810 French Penal Code to strengthen a justice system that was still in an embryonic stage. Adopted in Senegal on May 11, 1824, the 1810 Code served as an essential source of law for French officials in Senegal. After several modifications, finally, it was tailored to Senegal by the Decree of June 25, 1824,33 and completed with the Metropolitan Criminal Code, which was adopted four years later.34 Another version of the 1810 Penal Code that lessened the harshness of sentences was released in France in 1832,35 causing confusion over which version to use in Senegal.36 Nonetheless, this latest form shaped the development of the justice system in Senegal. In fact, the 1832 code stipulated “detention as a sentence should be served in the fortresses erected in the colony.”37 Upon installation in Senegal, the French built forts that contained small prisons like Saint-Louis’s first fort.38 Also, the new code sharpened the sword of justice stipulating that “detention could not be less than five years and more than 20 years.”39 Yet, in reality, the 1832 code had thrust into the colonial prisons offenders with sentences of more than twenty years. Its language suggested that detention, not imprisonment, was a common sentence in early nineteenth-century Senegal where prisons like their metropolitan counterparts, were or appeared to be places of detention rather than of punishment. But what is odd here is that detention terms were long, contradicting the code’s claims to lessen the severity of sentences. Thus, it is worth asking what detention meant in Senegal during that time. Did detention mean imprisonment in a coded legal language? The language of the 1832 penal code suggests that until the 1830s, imprisonment was not instituted as a form of punishment. As the judiciary apparatus continued to take shape, the French Civil Code was applied in Senegal on May 20, 1830, entitling the residents of the Four Communes40 and other French citizens settled in the colony to the same rights as their French counterparts.41 Then, on May 30, 1830, per the request of Governor Jacques Francois Baron Roger (1821–1827), who championed accountability and fairness in the rule of law,42 a measure of uniformity was introduced with the appointment of a Procureur Général with a mandate to assess the competence of judiciary services. Two years later, the Decree of April 17, 1832, promulgated the contrainte par corps, labeling debtors as



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 41

potential prisoners or detainees. The business communities in Saint-Louis and Gorée furiously condemned the governor’s decision to make public the decree. Their wealth, they argued, consisted of debts and high-interest loans, and the public proclamation of the contrainte par corps would hurt or even ruin the colony’s commerce by scaring people from seeking loans.43 Ironically, its repeal in 1848 provoked more uproar among the same communities, which honestly admitted that only “the fear of prison” allowed them to recover unpaid loans. The contrainte par corps was reinstated the next year.44 Until the 1870s, a time that corresponded to a crisis in the gum trade in Senegal, debtors in default comprised part of the prison population (a presence that was materialized in the architecture of prisons as it will be discussed later). Even after the 1870s, many defaulters landed behind bars. New legislation was enforced as new concerns arose. For instance, the Royal Ordinance of May 24, 1837, modified the composition of the criminal jurisdiction established by the 1822 Royal Ordinance by changing the Council of Appeals into a Court of Appeals and by creating courts of Assizes to sit in Saint-Louis and Gorée.45 The next year, on February 14, 1838, a version of the Metropolitan Code of Criminal Procedure was tailored to Senegal.46 By 1840, it was evident that the judicial system was in gestation. Its institutionalization could only occur within a reformed political framework. To this end, the French introduced the September 7, 1840 Royal Ordinance, which established Senegal’s General Council and restructured the office of the governor, increasing its power. To preempt the conflicting claims over administering justice by judicial and administrative authorities, the ordinance provided a centralizing measure by concentrating the details of the justice system in the hands of one magistrate, the attorney general. These legal developments were a prelude to the 1841 Prison Act. On July 15, 1841, Governor Montagniés de La Roque and Pageot De Montinres, Head of the Administrative Services, signed a decree that established the legal foundation for Senegal’s first official prison system, marking a new era in the administration of justice. Consisting of forty-three articles, it instituted a prison regime and defined the duties of the concierge or prison director.47 The timing of the Prison Act was not fortuitous. A month earlier, de La Roque has expressed some difficulties in applying Article 20 of the 1832 Penal Code, which stipulated that offenders sentenced to hard labor and prison for life should serve time in the prisons in their colony of origin. Applying this was problematic in that “the absence of hard labor sites and the state of prisons was deemed unfitting for these inflictive sentences.”48 La Roque suggested diverting all those inmates to work in the bagne of Brest in France, a measure, he stressed, that fit the severity of their sentence and would serve as a warning to potential murderers in the “black population.” This was reminiscent of

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recommendations made a decade earlier, transferring all Europeans convicted in Senegal to France because of the unhealthiness of its prisons, which until 1830 housed only indigéne inmates.49 These issues suggest that the timing of the 1841 Prison Act was largely the product of local circumstances. That said, it did not mark the beginning of a new approach to imprisonment in Senegal because it failed to make provisions for prison construction. Rather, it was a measure initiated in the midst of difficulties to bring the administration of prisons in line with the 1840 administrative and institutional organization of the colony. Moreover, the Prison Act, as laid down, was very limited because it applied only to Gorée’s prisons. The prison system continued to take shape in tandem with the promulgation of new legislation aimed at strengthening the justice system in Senegal. The Decree of March 27, 1844, reorganized the tribunals de première instances as well as the appeals court and the court of assizes in Senegal both located in Saint-Louis.50 Similarly, the Decrees of August 9, 1854, and April 1, 1863, overhauled the administration of the justice system, a much-needed reform as Senegal welcomed its first built prison. Between 1841, when the Prison Act was issued, and 1863, when a brandnew prison was erected in Saint-Louis, prisons in Senegal were nothing more than disorganized, makeshift disciplinary facilities with no architectural soul and no institutional identity. Surprisingly, in 1841, the French opened a new courthouse in Saint-Louis, which catered to an increase in the number of prison sentences being handed down in that city.51 In 1839, 30 prison sentences were handed down for 62 cases tried. In 1840, 78 cases were prosecuted. Of these, 46 resulted in prison sentences. In 1841, 47 prison sentences were pronounced, out of a total of 64 cases tried.52 But as noted above, people were serving time in Saint-Louis and Gorée in 1820 long before the enactment of the 1841 Prison Act. With the urgent need to protect commercial and other interests, the French established prisons before implementing any true penal legislation. Put differently; prisons were created before policies regulating them were developed. Thus, what architecturally stood as prisons pre-dated the 1841 Prison Act, which only gave form to a shaky prison system plagued by the problems mentioned above. By and large, imprisonment started to claim its place in the justice system as a form of punishment not with the 1841 Prison Act, but with the building of 1863 Saint-Louis prison. But given the establishment of a criminal justice system, I argue that the colonial prison in Senegal developed between 1820 and 1863. This development was driven by concerns about crimes, new ideas about punishment, and the need for a new social order following the 1840 Royal Ordinance. But in light of the historical rise of prisons alongside the promulgation of numerous



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 43

metropolitan legal codes and texts upon which the justice system was built, the prison imported to Senegal from France in the early nineteenth century and developed afterward was metropolitan in its inspiration and design, albeit modified to respond to local realities. Thus, it was not simply a transplant of the metropolitan prison. Rather, it expressed French beliefs about the nature of punishment to dispose of African offenders. The colonial prison embodied the power relations between French and local populations, and the social, political, economic, and cultural changes legitimating French rule. Thus, it was metropolitan in articulation and colonial in form. Arguably, from 1863 onward, one can see the correlation between the increase in French influence in Senegal and the growth of prisons. Moreover, prisons evolved to support new purposes and functions, aiding the French in reshaping the social, political, cultural, and economic organizations in Senegal. Prisons were embedded, of course, in a larger system of colonial control and repression. As such, they articulated and reinforced the power of the colonial state, which devised a prison system appropriate to its needs rather than those of prisoners. Thus, the colonial prison was consistent with the known facts of the history of French rule in Senegal. The relevant question here, however, is whether the colonial prison system meshed with, overlapped, destroyed or replaced indigenous punishment systems. Given the timing of French’s conquest and rule in Senegal, there is every reason to believe that the colonial prison did not develop in isolation from African methods of punishments. PUNISHMENT IN NINETEENTH- AND EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY SENEGAL The colonial prison in Senegal was a French export. As such, it fits into the pattern of repressive instruments associated with colonialism without incorporating some of the ways Africans punished their criminals. The evidence suggests, however, that before French rule, imprisonment was not a feature of Senegal’s criminal law, a reality admitted by French officials. As mentioned above, the 1821 commission that oversaw the foundation of a justice system in Senegal indicated that the Civil Council of Saint-Louis heard only a small number of cases because “the natives handled their legal matters through customs or voluntary arbitration before elders.”53 These indigenous punishment methods might have been sanctioned by France; a century later, they had not changed much, causing judiciary hurdles in the administration of justice in Senegal, as Governor Tellier expressed it in a letter sent to all commandants de cercle in 1920.

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I ask you to end any sanctions that add to sentences pronounced by the courts. No more chains. We are trying to establish a more humane regime than the indigénes have. For that, we are doing our best to end all corporal punishments that traditionally are inflicted on offenders. Despite such customs constituted the law; the natives have no punitive facilities or police forces. Thus, corporal punishment practices were justified. You will concur with me that our French civilization could not accept any longer such punishments and we advocate their removal from our legal texts.54

While the 1820 commission stated a tabula rasa in the French legal system in Senegal with a vague reference to indigenous legal procedures, Tellier’s letter painted a very murky picture of the colonial justice system. By 1920, the French had been in Senegal for more than a century, but their articulation of a modern legal system based on humanitarianism was hindered by continuous mistreatment of prisoners and their failed efforts to end corporal sanctions. These two documents on punishment in Senegal, namely the report by the 1820 commission and Teller’s 1920 letter, are 100 years apart, but they serve as a good starting point for a discussion of indigenous punitive sanctions. They reveal that the implementation of a colonial justice system did not supplant but was simply superimposed on native punitive sanctions and methods. Yet, an uneasy relationship existed between the colonial system and the native system because of deep sociocultural differences about what constituted justice, which engendered divergent constructions and understanding of punishment in several important aspects. Corporal punishment, an accepted legal practice in Senegalese societies was deemed a backward “traditional” practice averse to the French principles of justice. Held out as emblematic of Senegalese barbarity, it became a plausible justification for increased use of imprisonment and the implementation of a more “civilized” justice. It is commonly accepted now that, before Europeans’ arrival, imprisonment was not practiced in African societies, and even the term was not found in any of their languages.55 Jan Vansina contends that “prisons in African languages are either borrowed or recent innovations because pre-colonial Africa did not practice penal servitude as a judiciary institution.”56 In two of her recent accounts on imprisonment in Africa and the colonies, Florence Bernault asserts that “penal incarceration was unknown to sub-Saharan societies prior to the European conquest.”57 Use of the term “prison” as condemnation to penal servitude for a determined period of time enters the lexicon with the arrival of Europeans. This manifest absence of imprisonment in pre-colonial Africa facilitated the rise and development of the modern prison in Senegal, which became a fertile ground and a laboratory for France to test its colonial penal practices.



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 45

Pre-colonial Senegalese societies devised a whole range of punishments to adjudicate legal matters and convict and punish offenders. A huge scholarship has touched on their variety and complex connections with politics, religion, and culture. Abdoulaye Séne points to the absence of prison in the Njegem, a Seréer province where “criminals were put in irons under the sun and then released after their family paid a fine.”58 These sanctions, he stressed, positioned the Njegem as a refuge for victims of exile and those accused of witchcraft.59 Corroborating this, James Searing in his study of ethnicity and religion among the Seréer-Safèn of Western Bawol, asserts that the Njegem, surrounded by dense forests on the borders of Bawol and Siin was a protected sanctuary for “runaways and refugees from other communities.”60 In light of Séne’s arguments, banishment was part of punitive practices in Senegalese societies. Yet, the most common form of indigenous punishment was the ordeal. Used to determine guilt and innocence, resolve disputes, and bring offenders to justice, ordeals were of different types and included bleeding, burning, scalding, and poisons. Exploring adult criminality in Senegal, Pierre Lagier asserts that arguably the most common used ordeal was the famous red-hot iron. To “prove” guilt or innocence, the accused licked a red-hot blade. If the accused’s tongue was burned, then he or she was guilty. If the tongue was not burned, he or she was innocent.61 Because robbery was more common than murder, ordeals, including the red-hot iron, were inflicted mainly on robbers. For example, in the Wolof society and Fuuta Toro, robbery was severely punished by this ordeal: “the defendant plunged one hand into a boiling pot of cow dung.”62 In contrast, individuals accused of murder or of causing injury were subjected to different ordeals to prove their guilt or innocence.63 However, it was a less severe ordeal, the use of poisons, that persisted well into the colonial period. In 1919, for example, the tribunal of Sédhiou (Casamance) convicted Niamanding Touré on a ritual murder charge and sentenced him to death for killing his nephew.64 Touré confessed to the crime but insisted that “his nephew died after he administered him a potion to make him confess to his sorcery activities against his family.” In his remarks, the French prosecutor argued that “fetishistic use of poisons to denounce and punish witches leading to the poisoning of hundreds of people had wiped out entire villages.” Casamance, he wrote, “is populated with savage fetishists using witchcraft and ritual punitions.” Therefore, in the 1920s, the authorities outlawed the use of poison ordeals in identifying witches, a phenomenon that had become increasingly common during the years following the French occupation of Casamance.65 The French argued the used of ordeals caused ritual murder, a crime punishable by the death penalty. However, Robert Blaum

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argues that the severe prosecution of ritual murder and witchcraft by French administrators in Casamance was politically motivated because the region was a hub of widespread resistance to French domination.66 Pre-colonial Senegalese societies also punished offenders by whipping, death, sacrifice, and ostracism. These sanctions were moored to, if not validated by political and religious organizations and societal beliefs that were considered endogenous. Non-endogenous sanctions such as enslavement were not options among the Seréer-Safèn and other Seréer communities who “did not recognize slavery.”67 For the Seréer-Safèn, enslavement was instead “a crime because of their resistance to Wolof social order, which was symbolized in their mind by the institution of slavery levied against them by the Wolof.”68 In Fouta Toro, “whatever the gravity of the crime, a man should never be enslaved.”69 Likewise, Robert Blaum points to the absence of sanctions against witches in the Diola society, except in the most serious cases when “the accused forfeited all his rice paddies”70; rice cultivation being the basis of the political economy and social organization of the Diola. Blaum contends that “punishment usually has two aspects: social ostracism and spiritual sanctions from Emitai, the Supreme God.” Moreover, punishment in pre-colonial Senegalese societies was also determined by the nature of social relations as well as the offender’s religious, marital, and social status among others. For instance, in slave-owning societies “a slave murdering a free man was sentenced to death, while the free man paid a fine to free himself for the killing of a slave.”71 These forms of punishment were well-integrated into the native legal system in Senegal. They were used not only to maintain law and order but also to affirm the political and religious power of chiefs, elders, notables, and kings in rendering justice. Punishment by death could also be appropriated for religious purposes. Robin Law argues “many of the people sacrificed in West Africa were criminals who had been sentenced to death but preserved to be killed at the major religious festivities.”72 Thus, the nature and application of punitive sanctions in pre-colonial Senegalese societies become apparent only when one considers legal procedures in relation to political, social, and religious structures. The indigenous methods of punishment discussed above were not unique to pre-colonial Senegal. Furthermore, in most societies in pre-colonial Senegal, the treatment of offenders rested on a conceptualization of crime that made crime liability collective, implying that sanctions were applied not to individuals, but to the whole group.73 The same punishments presented themselves in West Africa and other parts of the continent. In her study of human sacrifice in West Africa, Robin Law distinguishes between human sacrifice and “the execution of witches or more accurately the death of witches through trial by ordeal, commonly administered in the form of poison.”74 The dis-



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 47

tinction, she argued, lay in the fact that ordeal involved “punishment for a supposed offense (when someone had been killed by witchcraft) rather than killing for religious or ritual purpose.”75 Exploring capital punishment in the Meta’ society of Cameroun, Richard Dillon identified two processes through which offenders were eliminated from that society: the execution of a culprit or his or her sale as a slave.76 Likewise, Florence Bernault contends that in equatorial African societies, “the death penalty only applied to exceptionally dangerous witches, but ordeals could be prepared so that the accused would be convicted but not to die.”77 Islam changed indigenous legal systems by encouraging disciples to follow Muslim law to settle legal matters. Looking at sanctions for adult crimes in Senegal, Pierre Lagier painted a rigorous application of Muslim jurisprudence by actually repeating the factual observation that “adulterers were sentenced to death.”78 Taken at face value, his arguments may suggest that all Muslim communities subjected adulterers to the same treatment. Lagier’s generalization calls for a discussion of adultery sanctions in the Islamic and non-Islamic communities to determine how Muslim practice influenced African ones. In light of the Coutumier Juridique,79 Muslim law was rarely enforced because the punishment for adultery differed from one community to the next, depending on circumstances. Interestingly, there was a differential application of the law even in Muslim communities. For example, because men and women were considered equally accountable for fidelity in marriage “in Fouta-Toro, highly Islamized, (where) adulterous men and women received a hundred lashes and a fine instead of being stoned to death.”80 The Seréer and the Wolof societies, however, provide an interesting perspective on adultery sanctions. According to the Coutumier, the Seréer-Safèn of Mbour imposed no sanctions for adultery by a married man because such behavior was deemed unimportant, but they prescribed death for a disloyal married woman, by allowing the husband to kill the lovers. If he did not, he could seek restitution from their families.81 The Seréer Ndut of Thiès reacted differently by prescribing wife repudiation but proscribed the return of the bridewealth. If the wife was the wronged party, she could leave and keep her bridewealth.82 For the Seréer Noon, a married man who slept with an unmarried woman escaped punishment because single women were relegated to the bottom of the social ladder. In contrast, a man who committed adultery with a married woman faced death. Alternatively, he could reimburse the bridewealth.83 So, some Seréer societies prescribed death for adulterers, yet as James Searing reminds us “all Sereer were non-Muslims.”84 Also, women were severely punished regardless of their marital status. This implies that these societies’ norms regarding extramarital affairs were more restrictive for women than for men because it was believed the stability of marriage rested on women’s

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fidelity. Among the Wolof of Kayor, a man involved in adultery with a married woman repaid the bridewealth, while the unfaithful wife paid only one-half her lover’s fine.85 Adultery by a married woman among the Muslim Wolof of Bawol resulted in the full return of the bride wealth and the flogging of the lovers as stipulated by Muslim law. If a husband committed adultery, his wife asked for nothing.86 These differentials in adultery punishment problematize Lagier’s claim that death was imposed on adulterers under Muslim law. They suggest that there was no single attitude toward adultery in Senegal; instead, punishment was determined in each society by the status of women and its rules governing marriage. This examination of adultery, even if cursory, provides enough evidence to ascertain varied visions of justice, which were deeply rooted in Senegalese customs and Muslim traditions that privileged compensation and reparation as redress for offenses. Reliance on Muslim law continued during the colonial period, facilitated in part by the expansion of Islam in Senegal, as expressed in the late nineteenthcentury Islamic movements and its institutionalization through the creation of Muslim courts. The establishment of a Muslim jurisprudence was embodied in the May 20, 1857, decree that established a Muslim court in Saint-Louis under the auspices of Governor Louis Léon César Faidherbe. Presided over by cadis, Muslim courts were charged with settling noncriminal litigation such as that involving marriage, divorce, property, or inheritance. Despite being Islamic in their ideological inspirations, the sentences these courts handed down were often cast in customary terms, which makes clear that Muslim law was not always fully applied. Most forms of indigenous punishment discussed were discontinued over time as a result of governmental prohibitions or agreements between colonial authorities and local leaders. In the 1890s, after signing treaties several with local leaders, which seemingly gave them mandate over the annexed territories, the French negotiated the suppression of legal practices deemed barbaric. For instance, on April 25, 1895, at Sambé Abdel Kader Ly, the appointed chief of the Autonomous Seréer Provinces (Jegem, Jobas, and Mbayar) and his homologue of Bawol signed treaties with Molleur, administrator of the cercle of Thiès, to replace corporal punishment, oaths by fire, and ordeals with prison terms and to employ prisoners in public work sites.87 The choice of Ly, a Wolof aristocrat from Bawol, to the command of the Seréer territories, was motivated by French desire to conquer the Seréer communities that resisted Wolof domination and to more easily impose prisons on the Seréer, who resisted French rule as well.88 Thus, an overriding concern of these treaties was the French desire to assume a more direct responsibility for the punishment of criminals. More important, they echoed the Third Republic’s mission to uplift Africans and “to reconcile its aggressive imperi-



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 49

alism with its republican ideals”89 through coherent penal policies consistent with the principles of French civilization. Yet, the treaties also suggested the need to validate African legal practices that aligned with French principles of civilization. France’s preoccupation with crime control explained the French predilection for establishing effective penal policies. But the diversity of Senegalese societies and their judicial structures, as noted above, prevented the French from entirely importing the metropolitan jurisprudence. Thus, the idea was to selectively collect, rework, and codify into customary laws punishments that were deemed “civilized” and integrated into the colonial legal system. Likewise, “the French were forced to elaborate ‘native policy’ which recognized the power of chiefs to dispense customary law except where it was considered repugnant to ‘civilization.’”90 To this end, the first “native policy” decree that ushered in the first judicial reform in French West Africa was issued on November 10, 1903. To eliminate the legal mess that characterized the rule of law in Senegal in the nineteenth century, the 1903 decree instituted a dual system of French courts in the cities and native courts (village, provincial, and district courts) in the vast majority of the territories.91 It guaranteed the native courts the right to apply local customs in accordance with the principles of French civilization. It also created a Chambre d’Homologation, a high court to review all sentences exceeding five years. Also, the 1903 legislation bestowed upon colonial judges a discretionary power to define what constituted an offense and to determine punishment. However, it stipulated the application of “French doctrines into practice in criminal cases,” as Conklin argues.92 To ensure a proper rule of law, the 1903 law expanded the boundaries of the legal system in FWA by importing into the federation the metropolitan classification of criminal activities: contraventions (infractions), délits (misdemeanors), and crimes (felonies). A distinction between these categories is necessary to help better understand the scope of imprisonment in colonial Senegal. Richard Robert offered an interesting discussion of the difference between, for instance, délits and crimes. In his book Litigants and Households, Roberts stressed that, in FWA, “criminal cases followed paths determined by the severity of the alleged acts. The French distinguished between délits and crimes, which are roughly parallel to misdemeanors and felonies.”93 However, he argued that “in French West Africa a simpler distinction was applied.”94 The simplicity, he explained, stemmed from how the French envisioned the rule of law in their West African colonies. Roberts, for instance, quoted Roume, governorgeneral of FWA, who wrote in 1905 that: “the division (between délits and crimes) does not conform to contemporary criminology. Instead, it reflects, in its simplicity, the actual state of morals of the land (i.e., colony).”95 According to Roberts, Roume concluded that “only attempts to again human life and

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acts involving the traffic in people (the slave trade) were considered serious enough to warrant the term ‘crimes.’ Less serious acts against people and those against goods may be defined as misdemeanors.”96 The native justice system referred infraction cases to the village court and misdemeanor cases to the provincial court (the equivalent of the tribunal de première instance in France), while criminal cases were brought before the district court (the equivalent of the tribunal de deuxième instance in France).97 Roberts also explained that “criminal cases were also referred as ‘correctional cases’ because they subjected to penal and capital sentences.”98 This colonial vision of the rule of law in FWA was reinforced by another judicial reform in 1912 that supported a flexible definition of crime. The 1912 judicial reform aligned court proceedings in FWA with metropolitan criminal procedures, increasing the range of criminal activities. However, its most significant innovation was that “French law was now given a dominant voice in deciding the criminality of any given action. The former distinction of felonies, misdemeanors, and offenses was eliminated altogether.”99 According to Alice Conklin, the 1912 Ordinance required the commandants de cercles (district administrators) to “prosecute such acts allowed by customs that they found morally reprehensible, as well as all breaches of the administration’s public ordinances, in the interest of public welfare.”100 Among those acts, Conklin contends, were “‘cannibalism’ and ‘ritual murder’ . . . whose legitimacy in the eyes of natives we will not accept and the numerous crimes that not punished by a penalty, inflicted in the name of society, but by compensation accorded to the victim or his family.”101 Besides the crimes stipulated by the French Penal Code of 1810, the 1912 judicial reform also sharpened the sword of justice: new serious offenses, including “all acts of armed pillage, assault and battery or aggravated assault, arson, kidnapping, or illegal restraint, poisoning of wells, cisterns or potable water, and mutilations, were automatically referred to the circle courts for sentencing.”102 These new crimes provide a kind of measure of the changing nature of crime and crime repression in FWA. These serious offenses kept the threat of imprisonment very much alive for the would-be perpetrators because the 1912 Ordinance stipulated that “custom was to be a guide as how severe the sentence would be, but the only acceptable sentences to the French were fines, imprisonment for up to twenty years, life imprisonment, exile, and death.”103 With these two judicial reforms, along with the 1810 French Penal Code and the additional legislation discussed above, French authorities in Senegal were fully equipped to tackle criminality with punishment, namely imprisonment. Both reforms were introduced to reconcile customary laws and French laws, suggesting that the practice of justice in FWA was tailored accordingly to the cultural, social, and political context of the federation. However, what constituted customary law was interpreted differently.



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I may perhaps be forgiven for not discussing the colonial construction of customary laws as a way to remodel indigenous African societies along the line of metropolitan law and for not assessing African men’s role in the formulation of “customary” law or whether customary law was truly indigenous or was formed in relation to European law. A wide scholarship has examined these issues since Martin Chanock first argued that “the fixed body of rules that European colonial administrators perceived as governing pre-colonial actions and practices, did not in fact exist.” Instead, “customary law must be understood as a historical product created in colonial institutions.”104 Rather, to contribute to the recent scholarship on courts, customary law, and punishment in colonial Africa, I focus on how customary laws produced messy judgments that mirrored different notions of justice. A brief discussion of murder trials in native courts appears below. In 1903, the Council of Notables of Occidental Saloum, headed by the provincial chief assisted by five chefs de cantons, convicted Yoro Bâ of murder in the death of Sandiouma Kâ following his condemnation for adultery.105 Bâ confessed to the crime, but claimed the victim “had an affair with his wife.” The prosecution’s three witnesses, the defendant’s wife, her uncle, and the village chief denied the alleged affair and claimed that “the wife and the victim dated before her marriage.” The notables sentenced Bâ to death because “he acted out of revenge and jealousy and failed to report his wife’s adultery to them.” However, per the request of the victim’s family, they reduced the sentence to one imposing “a compensation of 750 francs: 500 to his parents and 250 in government fines.” This case shows customary law in all its messy complexity and how judgments for some murder cases were constructed in African courts, raising the question of punishment to fit the crime. As the notables transformed the death verdict into punitive damages, they allowed family reconciliation and monetary compensation to dominate the results of this case. The punishment for murder and adultery became entangled in a web of customary and French laws when the judgment was forwarded to the administrator of Kaolack for confirmation. He ruled that “the compensation was too lenient and Bâ deserved to die,” referring to Article 12 of the Penal Code that prescribed death for serious crimes like murder. However, after considering deportation as an alternative to the death sentence, he simply ordered that the “defendant serve only two years as a substitution to the 250 francs government fines.” Questions about crime-punishment fit were, in fact, raised by several officials when the 1903 Decree was enacted. The 1912 Judicial Reform addressed them by stipulating that “commandants were no longer to refer to custom in the numerous crimes that are not punished by a penalty, inflicted in the name of society, but compensation accorded to the victim or his family.”106 Yoro Bâ’s murder case does not entirely exemplify the intricacy of customary law prac-

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tices in colonial Senegal, but it indicates that native courts’ judges “followed a much more nuanced customary law in the courts than the one spelled out in colonial texts.”107 Finally, the case showed that French and customary laws did not easily mesh. Moreover, the administrator of Kaolack and the notables behaved similarly in rendering their verdicts in Bâ’s case in that both departed from their systems’ “rules”: the notables failed to apply their customs entirely in punishing the murder and the administrator did the same by not relying on the 1832 Penal Code to make his judgement. The codification of customs through the March 19, 1931 Decree to deal with “how customary law could best be used in African courts”108 further complicated the implementation of the rule of law in FWA. Earlier, we discussed adultery sanctions as provided by the Coutumier Juridique. Those sanctions were perceived as integral to pre-colonial punitive practices in Senegal. In enforcing a codification of customary marriage laws, the French created a “customary” law to punish adulterers, women in repudiation, beating, flogging, fines, or return of bridal wealth. Studies on marriage customary laws elsewhere in French Africa reinforced these arguments.109 The Coutumier’s account regarding adultery sanctions and native courts’ handling of some murder cases raised issues about the nature and use of customary laws in African courts. Ambiguously defined customary laws produced ambiguous court decisions, thus raising doubt as to the legality of judgments in native courts. Moreover, the codification of customs did not resolve the differences between the French and African legal systems. Rather, it produced a multifaceted and complex native justice system that operated most of the time outside the realm of customary law, which was constantly reconstructed or reworked to fit individual cases. At this point, Thomas Spear reminds us that “less invented than transformed, codified, expanded and criminalized under specific historical conditions, customary law was neither traditional nor modern, African nor European, but quintessentially colonial.”110 Although customary laws continued to be used in the native courts, only the Appeals Court of Dakar gave them legal recognition. But it is essential at the outset to recognize that the indigenous and the colonial native legal system have influenced the development and evolution of the colonial prison in French Senegal. THE PRISON SYSTEM IN SENEGAL The emergence of the prison in Senegal could not be reduced merely to questions of colonial penology. Instead, the prison developed with regard to specific historical circumstances and in close connection to the establish-



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 53

ment of the colonial state. The building of prisons in colonial Senegal was not a smooth process. Therefore, it is necessary to ask what precipitated the creation of prisons. The elements comprising the context in which the colonial prison developed were, first, the end of the slave trade and slavery; second, the conquest of the territory and the consolidation of French rule in the region; third, the outbreak of Islamic movements in the region in the late nineteenth century; and fourth the French colonial economic demands and policies. All these factors opened the door to a needed prison system. The Prison before 1900 The rise of prisons in Senegal was influenced by the occurrence of slavery and the slave trade in the Senegambia region. When prisons first arose in 1820, the slave trade was still active in the region, a fact that accounts for the large numbers of slaves and captives in the early prisons. In 1819, Governor Schmaltz, who worried about the prosecution of slave offenders, was authorized to judge them according to native customs and laws.111 The 1822 Royal Ordinance officially empowered the governor to rule on cases involving slaves and captives. The evidence, as discussed later, leaves no doubt that the presence of slaves and captives in prisons related to the exigencies of the justice system, the policy of social control within the confines of towns and cities, and the colony’s economic conditions. Amendments in 1827 to the 1810 Penal Code made the code applicable to captives and slaves. The amendments also considered infanticide and robbery as serious crimes punishable by imprisonment, death, hard labor, and perpetuity sentences.112 As a result, many slaves landed behind bars, causing an uproar among slave owners in Saint-Louis who claimed loss of labor. Some of the slave owners petitioned the mayor, who in turn summoned the governor to reconsider his decision for making slaves and captives liable to the Penal Code. According to the petitions, in 1826, 1827, and 1828, fourteen, eighteen, and twenty slaves and captives respectively were convicted of robbery and sentenced to terms ranging from one year to ten years in prison, and some to hard-labor prison.113 As captives and slaves continued to run afoul of the law, their convictions continued to be problematic. Because the Code Noir had never been promulgated in Senegal, the Decree of May 24, 1837, which created courts of Assizes in Saint-Louis and Gorée, entrusting these courts and the tribunaux de première instance located in these towns to prosecute slaves and captives. This move validated the application of the penal code to slaves and captives and avoiding the growing resentment of slave owners stemming from the loss of labor. This decision resulted in the prosecution of a large number of captives and slaves. For example, in 1839, 1840, and 1841, the tribunal of first instance of

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Saint-Louis pronounced respectively thirty, forty-six, and forty-seven prison terms. According to Larcher, head of the Judiciary Service, these sentences were for robberies committed by slaves and captives.114 Unlike common robberies for which lenient sentences were handed down, aggravated robberies by slaves and captives were savagely punished with maximum sentences. The court of Assizes in Gorée, one of those created in 1837, sat for the first time in 1839 and sentenced only three people, all captives convicted of aggravated night robberies.115 A year later, the court of Assizes in Saint-Louis handed down two sentences, one for life imprisonment and a twenty-year hard-labor verdict against Alphonse and Louis Boye, respectively, for aggravated night robberies. The prisoners were transferred to the bagne of Brest because, in the words of Governor de La Roque, “they were nothing, but big criminals.”116 Arguably, the crimes most often committed by slaves and captives were property crimes, which seemed to mesh closely with the economics and needs of colonial authorities and slave owners. The conditions created by slavery and the slave trade in Senegal made slave delinquency quite easy. And no matter the nature of their crimes, slaves received tougher sentences than did freeborn individuals for the same crimes. On September 20, 1838, the court of Assizes in Saint-Louis sentenced both Sulémane and Samba Dansyllia to two years in prison for killing a captive.117 This verdict labeled the murder of a slave as inconsequential. Thus, in the early and mid-nineteenth century courts in Senegal, slaves were defendants but also were slaves with all that word signified. Meanwhile, the large numbers of slaves in Saint-Louis and Gorée’s prisons mirrored the demographic composition and economic position of these towns, which were famous as slave entrepôts. In Gorée, captives and slaves comprised 3,722 of the 5,244 total population in 1841.118 In Saint-Louis, “in 1836, slaves and captives numbered at least 3,249 of a population of 16691.”119 That said, the word “inmate” in early French Senegal became virtually synonymous with a slave, turning imprisonment into disguised slavery and subjecting slaves and captives to a slave-like prison treatment. Imprisonment was slavery by another name, leading to cases of mistreatment. For instance, in 1836 the ordonnateur or chief executive officer, asked Governor Louis Pugol to investigate allegations of mistreatment at Saint-Louis prison brought by MBaye Touré, chief of the North Provinces, on behalf of inmates at the aforesaid prison. Hibraim Fal, a free laptot sentenced to two years’ prison and twenty other inmates alleged they were chained and handcuffed daily, a practice, they asserted was usually reserved for hard-labor prisoners and slaves.120 The investigation concluded that “the mistreatment was justified by the fact most prisoners are slaves who are used to being shackled and would not be offended by such practice.”121 Laptots were domestic captives who served as sailors, not slaves, as Fall and the other



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inmates mentioned in their petition. The ordonnateur criticized the excessive use of chains on inmates, pointing out that convicted captives and freeborn individuals should not be subject to such a cruel practice.122 This case reveals that in early nineteenth-century Senegalese prisons, the distinction between slaves and captives was blurred. Captives were no better than slaves for they were treated alike. Moreover, they remained slaves and captives in the authorities’ eyes, and chains and shackles were like identity cards they had to carry with them wherever they went. Finally, the case reveals the ambiguity of imprisonment rules and regulations in Senegal in the 1830s, an ambiguity that remained constant throughout the colonial period. Slave emancipation landed even more captives and slaves behind bars. On April 27, 1848, slavery was outlawed in all the French colonies.123 A decree issued on June 23, 1848, extended the emancipation act to slaves and captives in Senegal.124 Article 4 of the Abolition Act amnestied all former slaves and captives punished with criminal or correctional sentences for crimes that, if committed by freeborn individuals would have been punished differently, another clear indication of the impact of their servile status on their arbitrary imprisonment. Ironically, the emancipation act led to the imprisonment of a large number of slaves and captives, underlining contradictions in French slave-emancipation politics. If the rise of the colonial prisons in Senegal was unrelated to the 1848 Abolition Act, the increase in prison population coincided with measures initiated by Paris officials in handling freed slaves and captives. Indeed, slave emancipation in Senegal prompted anxiety over the “upcoming liberation of more than 10,000 slaves and captives,”125 sparking newly defined crimes like vagabondage and begging punishable by the Penal Code, therefore turning the whole process into a judicial matter. In addition, emancipation induced fear in the thousands of freed slaves and captives thronging the streets, as can be deduced from this report: “the slaves and captives that we have declared free, as soon as they touch our territory, they overcrowd our cities, especially Saint-Louis. They refuse to work and live off pillage and begging.”126 This made freed slaves and captives susceptible to imprisonment and raised questions about their status with regard to the criminal law. Colonial authorities, deeming them a pool of potential beggars, vagabonds, and vagrants, readily criminalized them. Finally, the 1848 Abolition Act engendered inconsistent policies because it mandated that colonies set up disciplinary workshops to repress vagabondage and beggary, hoping to benefit from the labor of slaves and captives.127 Did disciplinary workshops imply prisons? What is known for sure is that the freedom village erected on the Barberie Pitt, north of the island of Saint-Louis in 1849, accommodated only a few freed slaves and captives.128

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Ultimately, the social and political disruptions that accompanied, if not engendered by, the abolition of slavery put a heavy burden on prisons. In an influential letter to the minister of the Navy, Governor Bertin-Du Chateau warned about the Abolition Act; he described slaves and captives as “dangerously agitated the moment they heard about the news” and said their behavior compelled him to “put many of them in prisons for acting out rebellious towards their masters.”129 Later, he publicly announced that any unruliness prior to the proclamation of the emancipation law would result in imprisonment. In places where workshops were not built because of budgetary constraints, prisons became a fallback space for incarcerating freed slaves and captives, but not without real hurdles. Paris officials were aware the prisons were unfit for this use. As a result, colonial governors made desperate choices. Responding to a ministerial memo urging colonial governors to take all necessary measures for a smooth emancipation process,130 Governor Auguste Baudin (who replaced Bertrain du Château) devoted his energy toward assisting chiefly “the old, disabled, and young slaves and captives.” His decision was influenced by “limited financial resources and the state of hospitals, prisons, and military barracks which are inadequate to house ordinary patients, inmates, and troops.”131 Nevertheless, prisons became the centerpiece in French repressive policy toward the so-called freed slaves, captives, vagabonds, and beggars. Also problematic was the failure to separate convicts who were minors from the adult convicts. The great number of young freed slaves and captives was another stain on the emancipation process, promoting more anxiety over public safety in Senegal and sparking the creation of penitentiary schools. A decree issued in 1849 entrusted this group to two Counsels of Tutelage created in Dakar and Saint-Louis and mandated that their feeding and detention costs be paid by the colony.132 In fact, the decree empowered tutors with disciplinary power by stipulating that “unruly minor freed slaves and captives be expiated by 15 days of imprisonment in common prisons.” The tutelage system was a subterfuge for imprisonment because the tutors’ abusive use of their power turned the whole system into a nightmare for the recipients. On October 11, 1862, another decree terminated the program and gave tutelage power to the head of the justice system, who became the legal guardian of freed slaves. In 1888, some twenty-five later, the first prison school for young offenders opened, paving the road to more penitentiary schools in the twentieth century. Far more worrying to the authorities, however, was the arrival of thousands of foreign slaves and captives seeking their liberties in the French territories. The abolition of slavery placed Senegal in an unenviable political and economic position. Its neighboring slave-owning communities protested the



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emancipation measures. To protect slavery, they threatened to cut off trade and supplies to Senegal.133 Their threats, however, changed to fear when runaway slaves and captives found refuge in Saint-Louis, Gorée, and nearby French territories. French authorities also alarmed, as can be discerned from an observation by Governor Baudin made in 1849: “the day slavery was abolished, 200 captives arrived from Cayor alone and I am wondering how to handle all these people with no means to support themselves given that we barely feed the 12 or 13,000 residents that crouched on the northern side of our isle? No governor could keep on with these difficulties.”134 To deal with this problem, the governor called for a modification of Article 7 of the Abolition Act, which stipulated that slaves and captives who touched French soil could claim instant freedom. The residents and traitants (local businessmen) of Saint-Louis were no less sanguine on the matter of fugitive slaves and captives. Dreading the effect of emancipation on the colony’s commerce (its most important asset), they also petitioned for a modification of Article 7 and an extension of Article 56 of the 1840 Royal Ordinance to fugitive captives and slaves. The latter gave the governor repressive police authority against any dangerous individuals who disrupted the peace and order of the colony.135 Thus, in 1857, Governor Faidherbe issued a circular that decreed their expulsion “as vagabonds that threatened peace and order of the colony.”136 But expulsion proved ineffective. So, authorities branded fugitive captives and slaves as beggars and vagrants and resorted to increasingly to imprisonment as a penalty for offenders. Besides, prisons accommodated those who broke the emancipation measures. There is a consensus among historians that the abolition of slavery in Africa did not end slavery and the slave trade. Slaves were being traded openly at French posts and authorities seemed powerless to respond. The absence of a concerted judicial policy to stop slave trafficking put authorities in an odd position, as highlighted by Governor Baudin. In a letter to the minister of the Navy, he defensively claimed that “the Abolition Act had left us with no means of repression. Could you tell me which courts have jurisdiction to try the crimes of trafficking and possession of captives.”137 Indeed, until 1863, as slave smuggling increased, the authorities were still caught in the horns of a dilemma as to whether to apply the Decree of March 4, 1831, that outlawed the slave trade or the 1848 Abolition Act. In a letter addressed to the minister of the Navy, Governor Faidherbe claimed that slave trafficking “was no longer a matter of slave trade or slavery, but of violent murder crimes committed in most cases on children snatched from their parents who clung to their life as they were being captured.” Its criminal character prompted him to request that the courts of Assizes prosecute those “crimes.”138

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The 1831 Decree, which was never enforced because it was mistakenly assumed to be relevant only to the maritime trade, punished slave trafficking with sentences ranging from two to five years in prison. But in the face of unabated slave smuggling, it became operational to supplement the 1848 Abolition Act. The French used both laws to criminalize slave trafficking and its perpetrators, relying additionally on the Penal Code, which added more judicial flavor to their fight. Based on Article 341 of the 1832 Penal Code, the enslavement and captivity of a slave before his/her sale was prosecuted as sequestration warranting a five-year sentence. Slave smuggling received the same sentence. For instance, in 1850, the court of Assizes in Saint-Louis sentenced Samba Laobé, a twenty-five-yearold traitant (local merchant) from the city, to five years in prison for illegally detaining a young female captive.139 The same year, Amadou Ly, a young marabout from Fuuta, received a five-year hard-labor sentence for abducting a 16-year-old boy on the Barberie Pitt and selling him.140 In 1875, Biram Gasconi Diop was convicted of sequestrating a young woman with intent to sell her and sentenced to five years. He was incarcerated at the prison in St-Louis, which, despite the wording of Diop’s arrest warrant, by then was a house of arrest and no longer a bagne.141 As slave smuggling persisted “well into the 1870s”142 and beyond, suggesting the extent of the problem, more convictions were levied against smugglers. Between 1880 and 1883, the Saint-Louis court of Assizes tried seventeen slave trafficking cases, eight of which were from Saint-Louis, three from its suburbs, and five from non-French territories. These cases, though symptomatic of the problem, also mirrored the French’s military, administrative, and judicial presence in Senegal. The French had no way of controlling slavery outside Saint-Louis and its suburbs. Even the number of cases (eight) for Saint-Louis tells a different story, as claimed by Paris newspapers that accused the French government of Senegal of protecting slavery and the slave trade. This accusation was refuted by the director of Political Affairs, who claimed that “since 1850 individuals accused of illegal captivity and sale of slaves were brought to justice and his office had freed in 1877, 1878, and 1879, respectively, 229, 219, and 282 captives.”143 He failed to note how many slave smugglers were brought to justice, yet these alleged numbers of liberated slaves suggest a flow of slave smugglers in prisons. Slave smuggling continued well into the twentieth century. For instance, “in 1903, twenty convictions of slave-trafficking were handed down in Dagana.”144 Two years later when the Decree of December 12, 1905, unequivocally proscribed slavery, “the prospect of imprisonment”145 was still real. Another thing that endured in the twentieth century was the slave-like treatment of inmates. Handcuffed prisoners laboring on public works sites called to mind slavery for Africans. In 1917, “a group of prisoners on their



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way to Dakar from Fatick walked across the city, shackled together by a rope tied on their necks”146 like slaves. For the authorities, prisons and the prospect of imprisonment provided solutions to the lingering and debated issue of freed and fugitive slaves, captives, and slave smuggling. Thus, criminalization of these individuals and behavior must be examined within the context of the emancipation measures. The invention of the crimes of beggary, vagrancy, and vagabondage and the use of imprisonment to deal with them were politically justified, thus suggesting a connection between slave emancipation and new prison construction in French Senegal. The 1863 Saint-Louis prison was opened during Faidberbe’s second term as governor (1863–1865). An officer of the Engineer Corps, he was credited for building most of Saint-Louis’ landmarks.147 And yet, Faidherbe decreed the expulsion of fugitive slaves while deeming slave trafficking a “murder crime.” Besides, an 1867 senatus-consulte approved the construction of prisons in Senegal to control the itinerant African population and petty urban criminals,148 probably composed of freed and fugitive slaves and captives. The history of slavery, the slave trade, and the abolition of slavery disclosed how slaves and captives came to be considered as criminals and landed in prisons in conditions that came to resemble slave captivity. In addition to being shaped by slavery and the slave trade, the building of the colonial prison in Senegal is also located within the broader economic changes that followed the French conquest and occupation of the territory. Colonialism brought significant economic changes in Senegal, where the population was subjected to harsh and demanding policies of taxation, forced labor, and military recruitment. Prisons were developed to deal with the recalcitrant. The military conquest of Senegal beginning in the 1850s and the administration of its disparate population were accompanied by heavy expenses. While some annexed territories were forbidden to tax French trade and navigation, the French seemed to take great pleasure in taxing their populations. For instance, they enforced the collection of the head tax “an annual tax of three francs taken by Faidberbe in 1859 to tighten French control over those African peoples who were annexed to the colony and inaugurated by his successor Jean-Bernard Jauréguiberry in 1862.”149 The social control aspects of its imposition made it easy for French authorities to dispose of defaulters by imprisonment. Failure or refusal to pay tax was punished by prison terms determined only by colonial authorities and later by the commandants de cercle. From the 1860s onward, as French presence expanded in the region, engendering more expenses, the definition of “economic crimes” was broadened to include tax evasion. This resulted in hundreds of tax defaulters being placed behind bars while harsh tax collection methods compelled many people to

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either migrate for labor contracts or engage in cash production. James Searing contends that during the colonial period, the Safèn anticipated trouble by setting “aside their tax money right after the peanut harvest before spending a franc on anything else.”150 The imprisonment of tax evaders was a reflection of the overall system of colonial repression and the role of the colonial state in maintaining it. After 1900, it increased exponentially as “the head tax doubled from five to ten francs between 1918 and 1920 and collection was enforced with increased rigor.”151 More people were imprisoned in Senegal as the scope of what was considered criminal behavior continued to widen adding with the addition of desertion, violation, and evasion of census, military recruitment,152 and forced labor demands, and as the sword of justice sharpened sending many of violators behind bars. Any resistance was reprimanded. On top of that, the flavor of resistance inherent in these alleged offenses made these groups, in the government’s eyes, fit subjects for imprisonment because the offenders were evading the repressive demands of the French colonial regime. Thus, people were imprisoned for failing to pay the “blood tax”153 and the soldiers for “being absent without leave.”154 Limited evidence makes it impossible to know exactly how many people were sentenced to prison because of tax evasion and violation of forced labor and military recruitment demands. Nonetheless, the presence of such categories of offenders among the prison populations merits attention because what caused their imprisonment were policy concerns important to French authorities in all areas of the colonial administration. Another factor contributing to the development of the prisons in nineteenthcentury Senegal was the Indigénat. The word designates the judicialdisciplinary system devised by French colonial authority through the Decree of September 30, 1887, to keep colonized under domination. The Indigénat system borrowed from Algerian legislation and allowed police stations, courts, and magistrates to punish certain acts that did not properly qualify as contraventions of the penal code.155 The enforcement of the Indigénat in 1887 coincided with a period when the French had made significant progress in the territorial conquest of Senegal. In this favorable setting, the French were able to push through some of the repressive policies they initiated. A large scholarship has explored the Indigénat as a system, a code, and as a “native code” digging deep into its arbitrary sanctions that as spelled out were “administrative” in nature but “judiciary” in reality as people were arrested, judged, and sentenced to prison according to it and, mass imprisonment resulted. However, the main outcome of the Indigénat has not yet been analyzed. These multiple connecting and disconnecting aspects of the Indigénat pushed



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Gregory Mann recently to ask, “what was the Indigénat?”156 Rather than seeking to answer this question, this study examines the relationship between the Indigénat and the development of prisons in Senegal. To the extent the Indigénat led to mass imprisonment in Senegal, it was an arbitrary legal code, or system, or “native” code. The sanctions it stipulated were “administrative” in nature, implying that the victims should be incarcerated in facilities designated only for them. Instead, they were mingled with common-law prisoners. The moment they entered the regular prisons where they ended up, their sentences ceased to be “administrative” and became “punitive” because they were treated like common law inmates. The only difference was in the words on their prison documents. Although the offenses sanctioned by the Indigénat were legally different from those spelled out in the Penal Code, their scope had never been wider in Senegal than between 1887, when enforcement of the Indigénat began, and 1946, when it was finally repealed. Looking at it from the perspective of imprisonment in colonial Africa, I argue that the offenses enforced in the Indigénat code can be captured as one overriding offense: “being colonized” with the political, judicial, cultural, and economic implications of this term. In African colonial prisons, the dichotomies citizen/subject and common-law prisoners/administrative prisoners disappeared. Rather, everyone was “a colonized.” After 1900, the redefinition of the offenses outlined in the Indigénat led to soaring prison populations, as will be discussed later in this chapter. As French influence spread, Senegalese society changed, particularly in the late nineteenth century, which witnessed a rise of Islamic movements and broadening the scope of imprisonment in response. Studies of French Islamic policies in West Africa stress a zero-tolerance policy toward the marabouts, religious leaders, and clerics.157 Indeed, a growing Muslim proselytism spearheaded by self-proclaimed reformers who set out to create new Islamic states swept across FWA as a manifestation of frustration over the European occupation of the region. This caused mass migrations into and out of the Senegal River valley,158 and the French responded by attempting to deal with religious leaders by imprisoning them. By the late 1890s, the colony of Senegal stretched from the Senegal River to the Saloum and Casamance Rivers, pushing progressively the creation of prisons in Bakel, Sédhiou, Matam, Dagana, and Podor, towns where the French had settled as early as 1818. These early prisons became a safety net of sorts to contain marabouts and Muslim leaders whose presence behind bars was felt to be very disruptive. For instance, escapes on May 12, 1890, from the Dakar prison, were blamed on marabouts accused of maneuvering African guards. Juquet, the interior director, summarized the incidents in these terms:

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The incidents at the prison of Dakar happened with the complicity of two native prison guards who since then had been fired. Providing that the staff is composed solely of natives, it is a challenge to keep the prison secure and enforce the surveillance of inmates. The natives of Senegal who are all Muslims bow blindly to the marabouts and become their docile instruments. They follow their orders and decisions and for any reason, they neglect their professional duties. Under these conditions, how could they prevent escapes from happening? The only remedy is to hire only European officers and former native soldiers who are accustomed to respect and discipline.159

Juquet’s statement underlines the natives’ acknowledgment of the power of marabouts, even in prisons, and argues that only European staff could counter this. He claimed the marabouts not only posed an ideological threat to French policies of social control of natives but also subverted discipline in prisons because of their influence over the guards made the surveillance of prisons a matter of political control in the late nineteenth century when French control of the territory was still being resisted. The year 1890, the time of the incidents at the prison in Dakar, coincided with the end of the French military conquests of Senegal, which exposed the reality that resistance to their presence was still active. The French were appalled by the activities of local chiefs and Muslim clerics who targeted their administration and agents. On September 2, 1890, Abel Jeandet, the commandant of Podor, France’s most important holding along the Senegal River, was murdered.160 The Jeandet murder, also known as the Podor Affair, was construed as an assault on the French community and authority, and as domination by Islamic movements, which, in the eyes of many officials, espoused goals antithetical to their colonial mission. This resistance, already evident in the 1850s and, thus persisting while slave trafficking and slavery were openly practiced in the French holdings, only intensified in the 1890s. In 1879, reacting to allegations propounded by Paris newspapers that slave trafficking was being protected, the director of Colonies wrote: “the marabouts who hate us so much had blamed us for liberating all the captives.”161 To the French, the threat of Muslim reformers was real because in a much wider context, even their economic interests were at risk. This explains that Islamic policies directed at Muslims in the region were broadly defined. Studies on French policies in West Africa against Muslim reformers show that they were motivated by the need not only to further political and administrative influence but also to protect the colony’s key assets. Historian David Robinson argued that “the French opposed Islamic states or movements which threatened to create Islamic states, in areas where they had commercial and political dominance or where they intended to expand in the future.”162 He also contends that “the French sought to contain the influence of Tokolor and Tijaniyya clerics in western Senegal, which was the region of the high-



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est priority because of its growing peanut production.”163 The French Islamic policies combined military retaliation with imprisonment. Even if the 1890 prison escapes at the prison in Dakar were blamed on the influence of the marabouts, it is worth noting that up to the late nineteenth century, the structures of the prison system in Senegal were still embryonic, developing haltingly and in ambivalent fashion. Except for the prisons in Dakar and Saint-Louis, deemed the most adequate penitentiaries by colonial norms, most establishments were prisons only by name. As Muslim proselytism progressively reached more communities, prisons could barely contain the marabouts and other religious leaders. Despite their supposed success with freed slaves and fugitive captives, tax defaulters and other groups mentioned earlier; the French became consciously aware of their limited ability to control the marabouts. Moreover, given their defeat was a concern, it is not surprising that the French embraced more severe measures ranging from deportation, transportation, and internment, to capital punishment, the only punishment that survived throughout the colonial period along with imprisonment. Imprisonment shared with these forms of punishment the mission to protect the French presence and rule in Senegal. Whether used to house slaves and captives, marabouts, defeated chiefs, tax defaulters, deserters of forced labor and military recruitment, military or debtors, or common-law inmates, the nineteenth-century Senegalese prison was first and foremost an unremarkable institution, its population comprised mostly of those who challenged French presence in Senegal. The inmate slave or captive, the inmate marabout, the inmate tax evader, the inmate forced labor and military recruitment deserter, were all the product of a historical relationship grown thick with nuance and complexity during that century. While the slave trade, slavery, and French policies in the nineteenth-century shaped the emergence and development of prisons in Senegal, new policies left their mark on its evolution and transformation in the twentieth century. The Prison after 1900 As the colonial state entered the twentieth century, imprisonment became systemized as the chief form of punishment for dealing with an increasing crime rate. Similarly, imprisonment ideas became more clearly defined by colonial authorities who construed prisons as a deterrent. This provided the raison d’être for building more prisons across the colony with complex architectural forms. As prisons became parts of the colonial cities’ landscape, new penal legislation was approved and enforced. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the French had a free hand to rule over the territory they had fought over for more than a century. Between

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1900 and 1914, their rule was more firmly established in Senegal. Implementing an improved penal system in Senegal became necessary to curb new challenges posed by mass migrations, increased crime, resistance to military mobilization for World War I, and other factors. Myron Echenberg reminds us that “absentees risked sanctions and penalties to themselves and others. Theoretically, they and their families, their villages or their chiefs, could all be held to be in violation of the Conscription Law of 1919, which imposed prison sentences for obstructing the draft.”164 Similarly, mass migrations to cities, a result of a growing cash-crop-oriented economy, put pressure on prison officials to accommodate a growing number of offenders.165 The development of groundnuts, as an export crop sparked the rise of new urban centers around the Peanut Basin, a main destination for migrant workers. Internal migrations in Senegal that shifted the directions of population movements after 1900 were blamed on increased taxes and forced labor requirements, the deterioration of environmental conditions in the first decade of the century, and the 1913–1914 famine, which affected the entire Sahelo-Sudanic belt.166 Moreover, developing trading activities, sustained by the extension of the existing transportation system (the line Dakar-Bamako finished in 1923), triggered a rapid growth of urban migration. Cities such as Kaolack, Thiès, Rufisque, Ziguinchor, and Saint-Louis attracted more people, particularly young men, who entered the cash economy in search of financial autonomy. Despite losing to Dakar in the competition to be the capital of the colony of Senegal, “Saint-Louis attracted an increasing population in search for work or assistance. It remained the largest city in francophone Africa until 1914.”167 The role of capital city benefited Dakar, whose population rose exponentially from 8,737 to 25,000 inhabitants between 1902 and 1911. The capital of the French West Africa Confederation as well, Dakar attracted “the employees of metropolitan commercial companies in Senegal, and les petit blancs (people affected by the 1905 crisis of the French).”168 From a small number of 125 European merchants and company employees in 1900, the European population of Dakar rose to 2,500 by 1910.169 Thanks to the new transportation system, many migrants settled in towns, where they mingled with the so-called floating population. The development of small businesses, consumer culture, and disposable income led to the rise of practices such as prostitution, property crimes, fraud, robbery, and smuggling.170 For instance, in 1925, the native courts in Senegal handed down 120 prison sentences for vagrancy, 82 for aggravated battery, 864 for robbery, 122 for fraud, and 54 for murder.171 In the context of changing political, economic, and social policies, the colonial prisons acquired new functions in controlling crimes. At the same time, they were also used to contain individuals labeled as fléaux sociaux: “beggars, alcoholics, homeless and jobless, and lepers.”172 The colonial authorities became so worried about the extent of vagrancy and



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begging that they passed legislation to curb their progression. However, their fears were validated by discourses developed in France in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries about deviance and social marginality. Pierre Deyon attributes the emergence of the prison in France more to the “fears and obsessions” of French society than the “transgressions of the delinquents.”173 From this perspective, one can argue that the colonial authorities transferred or used the metropolitan criminal discourse to discredit Africans. However, as they created camps to accommodate alcoholics, beggars, vagrants, and homeless and jobless people who were also expelled from congested urban areas, they used colonial prisons as supplements to those camps. For example, in Dakar, the colonial administration created a camp where jobless adults with no fixed address or means of support could find shelter, in return for which they had to work on the colonial administration’s public projects. Those who refused to work were taken to courts to face vagrancy charges. Imprisonment was also prescribed as an acceptable punishment for the violators of health policies and measures initiated to prevent disease. Among the activities that were criminalized were the following: drying fish in public places; storing water in uncovered receptacles, which favored the development of bacteria and mosquitoes; and dumping dirty water in public spaces. Many people, mostly women, became criminals because of these health and sanitary measures.174 The scholarship on health and disease in colonial Senegal has shown that these practices were blamed for the increase in mosquitos and ultimately of malaria that was taking a toll on Europeans.175 In this context, the goal of the threat in imprisonment was not to deprive people of their liberty but to correct their hygienic practices. By the early 1920s, the colonial prison was firmly established as an accepted punishment. Despite overt prison rebellions (see chapter 5), the colonial administration put their faith in prisons to curb an increase in crime rates, mainly in the 1930s and 1940s. The great depression witnessed by western economies in 1929 had immediate repercussions in Senegal and elsewhere in West Africa.176 Peanut prices dropped, decreasing the colony’s revenue and depriving peanut farmers of income, while in the cities unemployment rates increased. Monique Lakroum explains that in 1932 in Senegal, 2,991 people lost their jobs, while the floating population in Dakar was estimated to be approximately 30,000 people.177 Unemployment rates were around 3.4 percent in Senegal and 21.7 percent in Dakar in 1934.178 In the face of rising unemployment and the increased crime that it engendered, the colonial state promulgated new legislation to control working people. The Decree of July 4, 1932, required all domestic workers (housekeepers, cooks, and gardeners) to hold a card or permit called carnet de domestique.179 Flows of new migrants from the countryside exacerbated the pressure on urban populations, who faced difficulty getting food during the time of cri-

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Table 1.1.  Misdemeanor and criminal cases in Senegal, 1925–1945 Years

Misdemeanor Cases

Criminal Cases

1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945

2,867 — — 2,243 2,046 3,144 3,063 3,128 2,888 — 3,724 — — 2,015

— — 87 67 249 253 373 — 69 89 395 76 77 54

Sources: ANS 6M360–6M191–22G/264 (215)

sis.180 As the colony recovered from the depression in 1935–1936, World War II brought a new set of problems. As a French colony, Senegal had to contribute to the conflict or what Myron Echenberg calls the “blood tax.”181 Like the 1930s, the war period was a time of increasing crime rates in Senegal as shown in Table 1.1.182 The 1930s and 1940s corresponded to the period of expansion of prisons. Every administrative district, or cercle, had one detention center and some even had two. Political circumstances also contributed to the evolution of prisons in Senegal. The Vichy regime in French West Africa led to the arrest of many partisans of De Gaulle after 1940.183 In Senegal, for instance, the régime brandished the offense, interdiction de séjour (banishment or exclusion order) to put people in prisons. In 1940, courts in Dakar handed over twenty sentences of interdiction de séjour and fifty sentences alone in 1943 were pronounced by the tribunal of first degree of Dakar.184 French West Africa had four centers of detention for Europeans at the beginning of the war: more than fifteen existed at the end of 1942 and housed American, British, Gaullist, and African activists. Imprisonment then decreased at the end of the war, from 3,724 in 1941 to 2,015 in 1945.185 The end of World War II had a huge impact on the colonial prison, which gained a new role as the place to hold individuals whose acts were deemed to challenge colonial rule, including leaders of trade unions and political parties that emerged in the rise of the nationalist movements in the late 1950s. However, crimes increased particularly after 1946 when the Indigénat was abolished and the courts under French jurisdictions became the only institutions empowered to rule on misdemeanors and criminal cases (see Table 1.2).



Building the Colonial Prison in Senegal (1817–1950) 67 Table 1.2.  Misdemeanor and criminal cases in Senegal, 1945–1953 Years

Misdemeanor Cases

Criminal Cases

1944 1945 1949 1950 1951 1953

— 2,015 — 6,115 6,342 7,134

— 54 31 108 72 —

Sources: ANS: M360-6M191-22G264 (215)

The transformation and evolution of the colonial prison in French Senegal mirrored the colony’s political, economic, and social evolution. The Indigénat system had the biggest influence in shaping the colonial prison. The commandant de cercle, whose military title reflected the authoritarian character of the position, headed the administrative district, or cercle, and under the Indigénat, was empowered to uphold the laws. The Indigénat code increased special measures punishing Africans for behavior newly labeled as deviant and also allowed for arrest and jailing without trial for all persons who committed offenses of a political and administrative nature. A decree issued on September 14, 1907, designated twenty-six infractions applicable in Senegal through the Indigénat system. “Among the infractions were: 1. Refusals to pay taxes or fines or to render statutory labor. Negligence in making such payment and in the execution of statute labor, 2. Any disrespectful or offensive act vis-à-vis a representative or agent of authority. 3. Speech and public remarks made in public intended to weaken respect for French authority or its officials.”186 Punishment was increased when refusal to pay taxes was coupled with disrespectful or offensive acts. The Indigénat code also authorized colonial administrators to impose fines of up to one hundred francs and fifteen days’ imprisonment for committing an offense. Senegalese historians have highlighted the abuses perpetrated by colonial agents and their collaborators under the Indigénat system. Similarly, studies of criminality in colonial Senegal stress how the random character of the management of the Indigénat system led to mass imprisonments in Senegal until its abolition in 1946. Yet, the net prison population stopped increased until 1960 when the French left Senegal. CONCLUSION Prisons strengthened the French domination in Senegal. The redefinition of prisons’ roles was intrinsically linked to the socio-political and economic

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evolution of the colonial state and the different strategies and policies adopted by the French to maintain their domination over the native populations. This analysis of the birth, evolution, transformation, functions, and meanings of the colonial prison sheds light on the true nature of the colonial state in Senegal. It also shows how the French manipulated Africans by using prisons to promote their so-called civilizing mission and to further their domination. No demographic group was spared in colonial Senegal; adults, minors, men, and women who ran afoul of the law were commingled together in the new prisons. The populations experienced the prison as another colonial reality that extended the list of innovations—the schools, army, hospitals, and asylum—associated with the French colonial enterprise. However, unlike these other institutions, the colonial prison as an institution of rights deprivation was different and the populations never adjusted to it. The prison system introduced in Senegal represented a new and largely unknown form of punishment. Before the arrival of the French, Senegalese societies did not have prisons. Instead, they relied on a variety of indigenous methods or Muslim laws to punish transgressors of the law, which were anathema to the colonial state. As prisons evolved, the colonial state outlawed some of these methods by signing treaties with local chiefs, putting an end to such practices or integrating them into the colonial system of justice and repression through the creation of a body of customary laws. However, local memories of captivity and enslavement and the absence of penal custody in pre-colonial Senegal continued to fuel a deep fear of prisons among the natives, who had come to think of imprisonment as disguised slavery. The fear of prisons was clear, and it opened the door for the French to enforce imprisonment upon populations to instill a fear of themselves as well. In this chapter, I have argued that the rise of the prison in Senegal cannot be isolated from the existence of such “traditional” forms of punishments. However, slavery and the slave trade, the political instability during and after the conquest of Senegal, and the spread of religious and other movements in the late nineteenth century shaped the emergence and evolution of the colonial prisons in Senegal. Likewise, the economic exploitation of the colony combined with extensive demands for labor, and systems like the Indigénat, also left their marks on the birth of the prison in colonial Senegal. These factors push us to argue that in French Senegal, prisons and politics deeply intertwined as prisons became increasingly organized and used for political purposes. It was with prisons that the French held the colony and exercised their control over Africans. NOTES 1.  Monguillot: Mission d’inspection sur les prisons au Sénégal, Saint-Louis, 12 February 1936, ANS, 3/00110.



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2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid. 7. Moretti: Mission d’inspection sur les prisons en Afrique Occidentale Française, Dakar, 23 August 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 8.  The Monguillot mission, ANS 3F/00110. 9. Ravenel: Mission d’ inspection sur les prisons en Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, March 1918, ANOM 61COL3046. 10.  Stephen A. Toth discussed the inhumane conditions and brutality endured by convicts at the bagne of Cayenne in Beyond Papillon: The French Overseas Penal Colonies, 1854–1952 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006). 11.  Minister Moutet to Governor Boisson, Paris, July 10, 1936, ANOM 61COL 630. 12. Governor Boisson to all governors in French West Africa, Dakar, July 30, 1936, ANOM 61COL 630. 13.  Denise Bouche, Les villages de liberté en Afrique noire française, 1887–1910 (La Haye: Mouton & Co., 1968), 181–82. 14.  Leland C. Barrows, “Faidherbe and Senegal: A Critical Discussion,” African Studies Review 19 (1976): 106. 15.  L. A. Webb, Jr, “The Trade in Gum Arabic: Prelude to French Conquest in Senegal,” Journal of African History 26 (1985): 149–68. 16.  On the conquest of Fuuta, see David W. Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics. Abdul Bokar Kan and Futa Toro, 1853–1891 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975). 17.  Report of the commission overseeing the creation of a justice system in Senegal to the Council of Ministers, Paris, September 1821, ANOM SEN VIII 4a. 18.  Decree establishing a council of justice in Gorée, Saint-Louis, May 24, 1817, ANOM SEN VIII 1-a. 19.  Reports on the organization of justice in Senegal, Paris, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII 1-a. 20.  Governor Schmaltz to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII. 21. Robinson, Chiefs and Clerics, 169. 22.  Promulgation of the Metropolitan Code of Commerce in Senegal, Saint-Louis, June 4, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII 2-b. 23.  Navy Minister to Manche, Paris, January 13, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII 3. 24. Navy Minister to Director of the Archives of the Navy, Paris, February 3, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII 3-a. 25.  Director of the Archives of the Navy to Justice Minister, Versailles, February 27, 1819, ANOM SEN VIII 3-a. 26.  Manche to Governor Schmaltz, Saint-Louis, September 20, 1820, ANOM SEN VIII 3. 27.  Commandant to M. Froidevaux, Saint-Louis, March 29, 1820, ANS 3B3. 28.  Report on the judiciary service of Gorée, 1841, Saint-Louis, March 25, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a.

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29.  First report of the Commission on the creation of a justice system in Senegal to the Council of Ministers, Paris, September 1821. The second report was submitted in November 1821, ANOM SEN VIII 4 a. 30.  Royal Ordinance of January 7, 1822, organizing a justice system in Senegal, ANOM SEN VIII 4 b. 31. Ibid. 32.  Governor Roger to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, June 23, 1823, ANOM SEN VIII 5e. 33.  Promulgation of the Decree of June 25, 1824, modifying the 1810 French Penal Code in Senegal, Saint-Louis, June 25, 1824, ANOM SEN VIII 5d. 34.  The Decree of February 14, 1928, promulgating the French Criminal Code in Senegal, Saint-Louis, February 14, 1928, ANOM SJ/2. 35.  The Decree of April 28, 1832, modifying the 1810 French Penal Code in Senegal, Paris, April 28, 1832, ANOM SEN VIII 5d. 36. Governor of Senegal to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, November 25, 1832, ANOM SEN VIII, 4b. 37.  The Decree of April 28, 1832, ANOM SEN VIII 5d. 38.  Alain Sinou, “Ideologies and pratiques de l’urbanisme dans le Sénégal colonial,” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, EHESS, Paris, 1985), 210. See also, Ibra Séne, “Crime, Punishment, and Colonization: A History of the Prison of Saint-Louis and the Development of the Penitentiary System in Senegal, ca. 1830–ca. 1940” (Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, History, 2010). 39.  The Decree of April 28, 1832, ANOM SEN VIII 5d. 40.  The Four Communes in Senegal included the towns of Dakar, Saint-Louis, Gorée, and Rufisque. 41.  Promulgation of the French Civil Code in Senegal, Saint-Louis, November 5, 1830, ANOM SEN VIII 5b. 42.  Governor Roger to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, July 30, 1827, ANOM SEN VIII 4b. 43.  Governor to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, March 22, 1833, ANOM SEN VIII 5b. 44.  Governor to Navy Minister on the contrainte par corps, Saint-Louis, October 19, 1850, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a. 45.  Royal Ordinance of May 24, 1837, reorganizing the justice system in Senegal, Paris, May 24, 1837, ANOM SEN VIII 11a. 46.  Project of reorganization of the justice system in Senegal, ANOM SEN VIII 11b. 47.  Arrête sur le régime des prisons au Sénégal, Saint-Louis, July 15, 1841, ANS 3F/00085. 48.  Governor De la Roque to Navy Minister on the transfer of Senegalese convicts to the bagnes in France, Saint-Louis, July 19, 1841, ANOM SEN VIII 6 bis a. 49. Governor to Navy Minister on European inmates in Senegal, Saint-Louis, February 20, 1830, ANOM SEN VIII 6 bis a. 50.  Royal Ordinance reorganizing the justice system in Senegal, ANOM SEN VIII 11a. 51.  Alain Sinou et Sylviane LePrun, Espaces Coloniaux En Afrique Noire (Paris: Ministère de l’urbanisme et du logement, 1984), 117.



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52.  Larcher, president of the Appeals Court of Saint-Louis to Navy Minister on the judiciary service in Saint-Louis in 1841, Saint-Louis, March 20, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a. 53.  Rapport of the Commission on the organization of a justice system in Senegal, Paris, September 1821, ANOM SEN VIII 4a. 54. Governor Tellier to all commandants de cercles, Saint-Louis, December 3, 1920, ANS 3F/00084. 55. Mbaye Guèye, “Justice indigène et assimilation,” in AOF: réalités et héritages. Sociétés ouest-africaines et ordre colonial, 1895–1960, eds. Saliou Mbaye, Charles Becker, et Ibrahima Thioub (Dakar: Direction des Archives du Sénégal, 1997), 153–69; Pierre M. Lagier, La criminalité des adultes au Sénégal (Thèse de 3ème cycle, Université de Montréal, 1971). 56. Jan Vansina, “Confinement in Angola’s Past,” in A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, ed. Florence Bernault (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003), 55. See also Daniel Branch, “Imprisonment and Colonialism in Kenya, c. 1930–1952: Escaping the Carceral Archipelago,” The International Journal of African Studies 38 (2005): 243. 57.  Florence Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, 2; from the same author, “The Shadow of Rule: Colonial Power and Modern Imprisonment in Africa,” in Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin American, eds. Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007), 56. 58.  Abdoulaye Séne, “Le Jegem de la pénétration coloniale à 1920: les mutations d’une société face au pouvoir colonial” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1992), 32. 59.  Ibid., 32. 60.  James Searing, “No Kings, No Lord, No Slaves: Ethnicity and Religion among the Sereer-Safèn of Western Bawol, 1700–1914,” The Journal of African History 43 (2002): 415. 61. Lagier, La criminalité, 36. 62.  Chérif Daha Bâ, “Marginalité et exclusion au Sénégal. Les comportements délictuels et criminels dans la vallée du fleuve Sénégal (1810–1970)” (Thése de doctorat 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 2002), 49. 63. Lagier, La criminalité, 37. 64.  Affaire Nianmanding Touré, 1919, ANS M204. 65. Robert M. Blaum, “Crimes of the Dream World: French Trials of Diola Witches in Colonial Senegal,” The International Journal of African Studies 37 (2004): 209. 66.  Ibid., 209. 67.  Searing, “No Kings,” 413 68.  Ibid., 412. 69.  Le Coutumier juridique de l’Afrique occidentale française, Tome 1. Senegal (Paris, 1939), 35. This document was produced in the 1930s in the context of the codification of customary laws in French Africa. It surveyed customary punitive practices in French West Africa.

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70.  Blaum, “Crimes of the Dream,” 214. 71.  Le Coutumier, 6. 72.  Robin Law, “Human Sacrifice in Pre-colonial West Africa,” African Affairs 84 (1985): 59. 73.  Abdoulaye Séne explains that in the Jegem, offenders were exposed to the sun and then released upon payment of a fine by their families in “Le Jegem,” 32. On crime liability in pre-colonial Africa, see Karen A. Mingst, “Judicial Systems of SubSaharan Africa: An Analysis of Neglect,” African Studies Review 31 (1988): 135–47; Thierno Bah, “Captivity and Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century West Africa,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, 69–78. 74.  Law, “Human Sacrifice,” 58–59. 75.  Ibid., 59. 76. Richard G. Dillon, “Capital Punishment in Egalitarian Society: The Meta Case,” Journal of Anthropological Research 36 (1980): 439–46. 77. Florence Bernault, “Body, Power, and Sacrifice in Equatorial Africa,” The Journal of African History 47 (2006): 217. 78. Lagier, La criminalité, 37. 79.  Le Coutumier Juridique. 80.  Ibid., 106. 81.  Ibid., 262. 82.  Ibid., 207. 83.  Ibid., 224. 84.  Searing, “No Kings,” 411. 85.  Le Coutumier, 129. 86.  Ibid., 131. 87.  Séne, “Le Jegem,” 65. 88.  Ibid., 49; see also Searing, “No Kings.” 89.  Alice Conklin, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), 1. 90.  Roberts, “Text and Testimony in the Tribunal of Première Instance, Dakar, during the Early Twentieth Century,” The Journal of African History 31, no. 2 (1990): 452. 91.  On the native justice system in Senegal, see Bara Ndiaye, “La justice indigéne au Sénégal de 1903 à 1924” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, Université de Dakar, Histoire, 1979); Mbaye Guèye, “Les transformation des societés Wolof et Séreer de l’ère de la conquête à la mise en place de l’administration coloniale, 1850–1920” (Thése d’Etat, UCAD, Histoire, Dakar, 1990). 92. Conklin, A Mission to Civilize, 93. 93. Roberts, Litigants and Households, 76. 94. Ibid. 95. Ibid. 96.  Ibid. See also Conklin, A Mission, 93. 97.  Ibid., 76–77. 98. Ibid. 99.  Ibid., 124.



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100.  Ibid., 124. 101. Ibid. 102.  Ibid., 125. 103. Ibid. 104.  Martin Chanock, Law, Custom and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998), 145. See also David Robinson, “Ethnography and Customary Law In Senegal,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines 132, no. 26 (1992): 221–37; Richards Robert and Mann, eds. Law in Colonial Africa (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann; London: James Curry, 1991); Terence Ranger, “The Invention of Tradition in Colonial Africa,” in The Invention of Tradition, ed. Eric Hobsbaum and Terence Ranger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 211–62; Francis G. Snyder, “Colonialism and Legal Form: The Creation of ‘Customary Law’ in Senegal,” in Crime, Justice and Underdevelopment, ed. Carol Summer (London: Heinemann, 1982), 90–121; Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). 105.  Affaires Yoro Bâ et Moussa Fatim, condamnés à mort, 1903–1904, ANS M 294. 106. Conklin, A Mission, 124. 107.  Brett L. Shadle, “Changing Traditions to Meet Current Altering Conditions: Customary Law, African Courts and the Rejection of Codification in Kenya, 1930– 1960,” The Journal of African History 40, no. 3 (1999): 414. 108.  Ibid., 411. 109.  Shadle, “Changing Traditions”; Richard Roberts, Litigants and Households: African Disputes and Colonial Courts in the French Sudan, 1895–1912 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005); Rachel Jean-Baptiste, “‘These Law Should Be Made by Us’: Customary Marriage Law, Codification, and Political Authority in Twentieth-Century Gabon,” The Journal of African History 49, no. 2 (2008): 217–40. 110.  Thomas Spear, “Neo-Traditionalism and the Limits of Invention in British Colonial Africa,” The Journal of African History 44, no. 1 (2003): 14. 111.  Preliminary reports on the organization of a justice system in Senegal, Paris, 1819, ANOM SEN VII I 1-a. 112.  Decree making applicable in Senegal the modifications of the 1824 Penal Code, Saint-Louis, September 5, 1827, ANOM SEN VIII 5d. 113.  Minutes of a meeting of the Council of Administration in Saint-Louis, SaintLouis, February 8, 1828, ANOM SEN VIII, 5d. 114.  Larcher, president of the Appeal Court of Senegal to Minister of Marine and Colonies, Saint-Louis, March 20, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a. 115.  Larcher, president of the Appeal Court of Senegal to Minister of Marine and Colonies on Gorée’s judiciary service in 1841, Saint-Louis, March 25, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a. 116.  Governor to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, June 19, 1841, ANOM SEN VIII 6 bis a. 117. Governor to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, October 11, 1838, ANOM SEN VIII 6 bis a.

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118.  President of the Appeals Court of Saint-Louis to Navy Minister on Gorée’s judiciary service 1841, Saint-Louis, March 25, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII 3 Ter a. 119.  Report on a project for a definitive application of the French Civil Code in Senegal, Saint-Louis, April 22, 1836, ANOM SEN VIII 5b. 120.  Ordonnateur to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, September 17, 1836, ANS 21G2: 1836–1893. 121.  Letter to the governor of Senegal, September 1836, ANS, 21G2: 1836–1893. 122. Ibid. 123. Promulgation of the Decree of April 27, 1848, abolishing slavery in the French colonies, Paris, April 27, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 124.  Decree announcing slave emancipation in Senegal, Saint-Louis, May 7, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 125. Report to Minister Arugo on measures taken before the emancipation of slaves, October 4, 1847, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 126. Ibid. 127.  Memo on the implementation of the 1848 Abolition Act, Paris, May 7, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 128.  LePrun and Sinou, Espaces Coloniaux, 94. 129.  Governor to Minister of Marine and Colonies, Saint-Louis, June 10, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 130.  Minister of Marine and Colonies to governors in all French African colonies, Paris, February 26, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 131. Governor Baudin to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, April 26, 1848, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 132.  Decree creating two councils of Tutelage in Saint-Louis and Gorée, SaintLouis, April 13, 1849, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 133.  Governor of Senegal to minister on politics around the Senegal River and the state of the colony, Saint-Louis, February 12, 1848, ANOM, SEN XIV 15a. 134. Ibid. 135.  Petition from residents and merchants of Saint-Louis to governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, February 3, 1849, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 136. Governor Faidherbe to Attorney General and Director of Native Affairs, Saint-Louis, November 14, 1857, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 137.  Governor Baudin to Navy Minister, Saint-Louis, January 22, 1849, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 138.  Governor Faidherbe to Minister, Saint-Louis, October 23, 1863, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 139. General Attorney to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, December 22, 1851, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 140.  Report of the clerk office of Saint-Louis, Saint-Louis, December 20, 1850, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 141. Arrest warrant against Gasconi Biram Diop, Saint-Louis, April 8, 1875, ANOM SEN XIV 15a. 142.  Martin A. Klein, “Slavery and the French Colonial State,” in Mbaye, Becker, et Thioub, AOF: réalités et héritages, 713.



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143.  Director of the Bureau of Political Affairs to Navy Minister, 1879, ANOM, SEN XIV 15a. 144.  Bernard Moitt, “Slavery and Emancipation in Senegal’s Peanut Basin: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 22, no. 1 (1989): 40. 145.  Ibid., 43. 146.  Prisons des cercles, August 1917, ANS 3F/00006. 147.  On Governor Faidherbe, see Burrows, “Faidherbe and Senegal.” 148.  Andrew W. Lawrence, Trade Castles and Forts of West Africa (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1964). 149.  Barrows, “Faidherbe,” 106. 150.  Searing, “No King,” 428. 151.  Peter Mark, “Urban Migration, Cash Cropping, and Calamity: The Spread of Islam Among the Diola of Boulouf Senegal), 1900–1940,” African Studies Review 21, no. 2 (1978): 4. 152.  According to Myron Echenberg, military service was “usually found on the same list as corvées, prestations and Indigénat, all oppressive burdens found explicitly in West Africa,” in “Paying the Blood Tax: Military Conscription in French West Africa, 1914–1929,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 9 (1975): 171. 153. Ibid. 154. Ibid. 155.  For a study of the Indigénat in Senegal, see Guèye, “Les transformations des sociétés,” 622–59. 156.  Gregory Mann, “What was the Indigénat? The ‘Empire of Law’ in French West Africa,” The Journal of African History 50, no. 3 (2009): 331. 157.  On French Islamic policy in West Africa, see David W. Robinson, “French ‘Islamic’ Policy and Practice in late Nineteenth-Century Senegal,” The Journal of African History 29, no. 3 (1988): 415–35; Gregory Mann, “Fetishizing Religion: Allah Koura and French ‘Islamic Policy’ in Late Colonial Sudan (Mali),” The Journal of African History 44, no. 2 (2003): 263–82; Donal C. O’Brien, “Towards an ‘Islamic Policy’ in French West Africa, 1854–1914,” The Journal of African History 8, no. 2 (1967): 303–16; Christopher Harrison, France and Islam in West Africa, 1860–1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). 158. Andrew F. Clark, “Internal Migrations and Population Movements in the Upper Senegal Valley, 1890–1920,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 28, no. 3 (1994): 399–420. On the topic, refer to John H. Hanson, “Islam, Migration and the Political Economy of Meaning: Fergo Nioro from the Senegal River Valley, 1862– 1890,” The Journal of African History 35, no. 1 (1994): 37–60. 159.  Juquet, director of Interior to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, May 20, 1890, ANS, 21G2. 160.  Affaire de Podor. Meurtre de l’Administrateur Jeandet, 1890–1892. Director of the Bureau of Political Affairs to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, September 18, 1890, ANS 13G135. 161.  Director for Colonies to Minister, 1879, ANOM SEN XIV 15. 162.  Robinson, “French Islamic,” 416.

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163.  Ibid. See also Lucy C. Behrman, Muslim Brotherhoods and Politics in Senegal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), 188–96. 164.  Myron Echenberg, “‘Faire du nègre’: Military Aspects of Population Planning in French West Africa, 1920–1940,” in African Population and Capitalism: Historical Perspectives, eds. Dennis D. Cordell and Joel W. Gregory (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1994), 106. 165.  On the history of criminality in urban areas in Senegal, see Ousseynou Faye, “Une enquête d’histoire sociale: l’évolution des moeurs dans les villes du Sénégal du début du XIX° siècle au XX° siècle (criminalité, délinquence, prostitution, etc” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, Université de Dakar, Histoire, 1979). 166.  Clark, “Internal Migrations,” 411–12; from the author, “Environmental Decline and Ecological Responses in the Upper Senegal River Valley, West Africa, from the late Nineteenth-Century to World War I,” The Journal of African History 36, no. 2 (1996): 197–218. 167.  Kalala Ngalamulume, “Keeping the City Totally Clean: Yellow Fever and the Politics of Prevention in Colonial Saint-Louis- du Sénégal, 1850–1914,” The Journal of African History 45, no. 2 (2004): 186. On deviance in Saint-Louis, see Ngouda Kane, “L’évolution sociale à Saint-Louis à travers les archives de Police de 1890 à 1930” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, Dakar, 1988). 168.  Ousseynou Faye, “Une enquête d’histoire de la marge: production de la ville et populations africaines à Dakar, 1875–1960” (Thèse de Doctorat d’État, UCAD, Histoire, 2000): 120. 169.  Rita C. O’Brien, White Society in Black Africa: The French of Senegal (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), 54. 170.  On crimes in colonial Senegal, see Nazaire C. Diédhou, “L’évolution de la criminalité au Sénégal de 1930 aux années 1960” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, Dakar, 1991); Chérif D. Bâ, “La criminalité à Diourbel de 1925 à 1960” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1995) 171.  Diédhou, “L’évolution de la criminalité.” 172.  Momar C. Diop, “L’Administration coloniale: la gestion des ‘fléaux sociaux’: l’héritage colonial,” in Becker, Mbaye et Thioub, eds., AOF: réalités et héritage, 1128–50. 173.  Pierre Deyon, Le temps des prisons: essai sur l’histoire de la délinquance et les origines du système pénitentiaire (Villeneuev D’Ascq: Université de Lille III, 1975), 112. 174.  Ngalamulume, “Keeping the City.” 175.  Kalala Ngulamune, Colonial Pathologies, Environment, and Western Medicine in St-Louis-du-Senegal, 1867–1920 (New York: Peter Lang, 2012); Myron Echenberg, Black Death, White Medicine: Bubonic Plague and the Politics of Public Health in Colonial Senegal, 1914–1945 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002). 176.  Catherine C. Vidrovitch, “L’Afrique noire française et la crise de 1930: crise structurelle et génèse du sous-développement,” Revue française d’histoire d’Outremer 32–233 (1976): 386–424. 177.  Monique Lakroum, Le travail inégal: paysans et salariés sénégalais face à la crise des années trente (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1983), 127–31.



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178. Lakroum, Le travail inégal, 129. 179.  Journal officiel du Sénégal, 1932, no. 1657, 493. 180.  Mor Ndao, “Le ravitaillement de la ville de Dakar, 1920–1945” (Mémoire de DEA, UCAD, Histoire, 1992). 181.  Myron Echenberg, “‘Morts pour la France’: The African Soldier in France during the Second World War,” The Journal of African History 26 (1985): 363–80. 182. Some years are missing data because the statistical evidence about crime rates in colonial Senegal is scattered. Furthermore, the statistical evidence is often compiled from files such as court documents or from reports released by different agencies within the colonial administration. Besides, the evidence exists in the form of serial data, running for periods of five years and in many cases is incomplete. 183.  Catherine Akpo-Vaché, L’AOF et la Seconde Guerre Mondiale: la vie politique, septembre 1939-octobre 1945 (Paris: Karthala, 1996); see also Ruth Ginio, French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006). 184.  Dakar et dépendences: justice indigène. Annual reports 1940 and 1943, ANS 2G40-50 and 2G43-15. 185. Akpo-Vaché, L’AOF et la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, 65–66. 186.  Jean Suret-Canale, French Colonialism in Tropical Africa, 1900–1945, trans. Till Gottheiner (New York: Pica Press, 1971), 332. More on the Indigenat system, see Anthony. I. Asiwaju, “Control through Coercion: A Study of the Indigénat Regime in French West Africa, 1887–1914,” BIFAN, 41 (1979): 34–71.

Chapter 2

Prison Location Controlling Men and Enforcing Labor

This chapter is concerned with the geographical history of colonial prisons in Senegal. It centers on the role of prison location as a spatial expression of control as well as the politics and economy of prison locations. The study of prison location is vital to the subject of prison architecture. The essence of prison architecture in a country cannot be understood in isolation from the ways in which prisons are specifically located within that country. The location of prisons had ramifications for architectural styles because location determined the availability of building materials and the general architectural styles in the area. Prisons in colonial Senegal were subject to a process of geographical location and relocation that had an impact on their architectural styles. From 1820, when the first prisons were established until 1960, when the French withdrew from Senegal leaving behind a network of thirty-three penal facilities, colonial prisons were marked by their complex architectural styles but also by their geographical locations, thus enhancing the visibility of imprisonment as a chief form of punishment. Such layout followed on the expansion of French colonization in Senegal, the social order of which was determined, in large part, by the control of space and the maintenance of safety and security to safeguard French economic interests. The choice of prison sites was largely dominated by the policy goals of providing safety in and around European residential areas and securing labor for the colonial administration and private companies. In this sense, the spatial geography of colonial prisons in Senegal was accompanied by an economic as well as a political geography. However, enforcing these policies required French officials to formulate medical arguments that defined prisons as breeding grounds for diseases. Also, they initiated urban planning 79

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programs that resulted in the relocation of prisons to the outskirts of colonial cities, thereby underscoring their geographical marginality. This chapter describes the geographic pattern of the locations of prisons in French Senegal. It examines the importance of prison location, the politics of social control, and the organization of prison labor in producing a territorial penal space that expanded over time. It begins by looking at the debates about the production and construction of space in colonial Africa and the role played by prisons in the production of a coercive space in Senegal. Next, the chapter documents how French medical and health policies, as well as economic preoccupations and priorities, shaped the siting and relocation of prisons in Senegal. It posits the argument that colonial prisons in Senegal were figuratively located at the crossroads of security, public safety, disease, and labor. The chapter also contends that the production of a territorial penal space in nineteenth and twentieth century Senegal is a reflection of the patterns of prison location as well as colonial ideas defining imprisonment as the chief form of punishment in Senegal. The locations of prisons in key sites, along with emerging crime-control mechanisms and penal labor policies, were intended to monitor African populations and to provide a ready pool of penal workers. These combined efforts produced a penal space that continuously expanded, integrating prisoners and nonprisoners in the colonial state. PRISON LOCATION AND PRODUCTION OF SPACE IN COLONIAL SENEGAL The Production of a Territorial Penal Space and Social Control In Senegal, the symbolism of prisons for the colonial state was apparent through their locations, which showed how prisons were used as tools for social control and a metaphor for spatial order. Drawing on theoretical work on the specificity of location and the production and construction of space in colonial settings, I explain how the French strategically and deliberately located prisons in Senegal to produce a penal space throughout the territory that increased the control and surveillance of natives, thereby illustrating the power of space to reshape social behaviors. The history of colonial prisons in Senegal is primarily made interesting by parameters of locations. In fact, locations matter not only because of what they serve but also because of what they represent. Here, I use locations to flexibly indicate “places” where prisons were built. A location may be a country, a city, a region, a site, an island, or a desert. The literature on location is remarkably large. Discussing the specificity of place, Akhil Gupta and



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James Ferguson argue that “notions of locality and community both refer to demarcated physical space and cluster of interaction, we can see that the identity of a place emerges from the interaction of its specific involvement in a system of hierarchically organized spaces with its cultural construction as a community or locality.”1 From this perspective, locations imply both how places were used and how individuals experienced and produced a sense of place, and also how places were represented and imagined. For instance, in the European mind, Africa was so far away that it was seen as a place socially, culturally, economically, politically, and racially different from Europe. Here location implies distance. In their representation of Africa and Africans, the phrase “imaginative geographies”2 introduced by Edward Said in his analysis of Orientalism, best describes how Europeans perceived Africa as the “other place.” Colonial geographies, he argues, “help the mind intensify its own sense of self by dramatizing the distance and the difference between who is close and what is far away.” Also very important is David Arnold’s discussion of what he called the “invention of tropicality.”3 Arnold argued that the tropics need to be understood “as a conceptual, not just physical, space” pointing out that “calling a part of the globe, the tropics” was a Western way of defining something culturally and politically alien, as well as environmentally distinctive, from Europe and other parts of the temperate zones.” Tropicality, he wrote, “was a prevalent and potent form of othering.”4 Europeans popularized the stereotype Africa: the Dark Continent to portray themselves as inhabitants of locations that are special because of their enclosure behind watery protective barriers and to differentiate themselves from savage Africans who lived in wild and exotic places and whom they wished to colonize. By emphasizing the purity of their homeland, Europeans emphasized their differences with Africans, and tropes of racial stereotypes were drawn upon to support those assertions. Furthermore, in the colonies, Europeans tried to reproduce the so-called purity of their homeland or “an image of Home”5 through the symbolic landscape of the hill station viewed as a “comforting little piece” of England6 or France.7 In this perspective, location meant difference in the fullest sense of the term. Intertwined with imperialism is another discourse rooted in European classical theories of hygiene and climate, which recast location as isolation for Europeans who sought to protect themselves from disease-prone Africans; thus the preference for higher ground. Odile Goerg argues that one reason for the preference for hill stations was to avoid disease. Likewise, in her study of bubonic plague and urban native policy in Cape Colony, Maynard Swanson argues that the “suddenness with which segregation might be imposed and locations established was usually associated with an epidemic emergency.”8 The plague emergency and quarantine

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regulations, she contends, were based on “location law” that precipitated the forced removal of thousands of Africans to “government locations.” In an age of race, location was recast as segregation as Europeans confined Africans to separate and racially segregated locations or relocated them outside the boundaries of white neighborhoods. Goerg points out that “the Hill Station Scheme of 1901 explicitly excluded all non-Europeans, wealthy Africans as well as Lebanese, from the new residential site.”9 This statement is reinforced by Judith Kenny in her study of hill stations in British India. She claims that “in the hills, the British sustained the illusion of an English town by housing the Indian service population in segregated areas.”10 However, new concerns in location studies also assert the role of space in shaping social processes. For instance, Doreen Massey attributes the specificity of place not “to some long internalized history” but instead to its construction out of a constellation of relations, social processes, experiences, and understanding, articulated together at a particular location. Thus, “locations may be considered nodal points uniquely characterized by their embeddedness in wide-ranging webs of social, cultural, political, and economic relations.” In colonial Senegal, the label location was used to characterize places that were viewed as remote, isolated, strategic, controllable, and valuable primarily as sites for cash crop production, for extraction of raw materials, and for military outposts, schools, trading posts, hospitals, police stations, and city halls in France’s mastering of the territorial space. The label location was used to map colonial prisons in particular places and not others, thus positing the relational sense of place and space. Indeed, there is a growing recognition among scholars that space is fundamental in any exercise of power: “landscape is power.”11 In recent years, a burgeoning literature has explored the production of space as structured in and through the organization and dynamics of social relationships. Indeed, since Henri Lefebvre’s argument that space is both a medium of social relations, a growing number of scholars across disciplines have been focusing on the production and regulation of space with a multiplicity of theories.12 In colonial Africa, the production of space had been central to analyses of urban policies. Research in urban theory reveals that the reconfiguration of African spaces was vital to Europeans colonial powers. The division between centers and peripheries and between European and African residences carried sharp social connotations that defined who had or did have the right to the city, suggesting policies of exclusion and inclusion of Africans from and within the colonial project. Several authors have provided insight into the aesthetics of territory and the production of space in the modern state. For instance, Christopher Gray argues that the European encounter led to a development “where a social definition of territory has evolved into a territo-



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rial definition of society.”13 Other studies have investigated how European constructions of space and understanding of spatial order and territory were based on “instruments of territoriality,”14 “discourse on spatiality,”15 and schemes of “racial spatial segregation”16 that created “ambiguous spaces”17 within which African identities and ethnicities were constantly redefined and contested. Similarly, challenges to European efforts to regulate land and to impose their own concept of space have been fully examined. Thomas Spear argues that “attempts to redefine space were sharply contested by Africans who had long occupied the spaces Europeans sought to colonize and who had their own ideas about how space should be organized. . . . Africans crowded into the new towns and asserted their own claims to the new spaces they provided.”18 Finally, the struggle over the control of urban spaces between Africans and Europeans had sparked crime-control mechanisms that impacted the perceptions of space and the imposition of a colonial urban order.19 Matthew Hannah reminds us that in a colonial setting “inventories of the landscape and the people in it may begin to provide controlling powers with information that will prove helpful in locating transgressors of colonial law.”20 The locations of colonial prisons in Senegal illustrate this point as they reveal French strategies to create a penal space within which to better control deviant behaviors and enforce social control policies. Thus, the study of prison location in colonial Senegal contributes to the wider debate about space and space production as mechanisms of social control. The geographical layout of prisons in French Senegal created a territorial penal space that enabled a set of measures that controlled crimes, measures that reflected and reinforced social control policies initiated toward the natives. Thus, prison location in nineteenth and twentieth century Senegal was embedded, of course, in larger processes of “politics of enclosure”21 and “enfermement de l’espace”22 brought out by Europeans in colonial Africa. Christopher Gray argues that “the notion of enfermement refers not only to individual incarceration but also to larger political processes where the colonial administration unit came to exercise its power, power associated with the concept of ‘territoriality’ as distinct from space.”23 Florence Bernault traces a similar theme in her exploration of confinement and imprisonment in colonial Africa. Using the concept of “politics of enclosure,” Bernault argues that “during the colonial period, the prison belonged to a larger doctrine of spatial confinement. Western tactics of enclosure aimed at controlling not only criminals and delinquents but also multiple aspects of African life and physical space.”24 Thus, the concepts of confinement and enclosure conveyed French desires to redesign African spaces and reshape social norms. Their meanings, however, were not static or fixed; rather they were broadly defined. Analyzing French policies of population control in the Sahara,

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Pierre Boilley contends that, to manage the supposedly turbulent Tuaregs, the French used “‘administrative confinement’ and ‘social confinement’” first to freeze existing social dynamics among the Tuareg; second to try to limit pastoral migrations deemed as anarchic.”25 Drawing on Gray’s and Bernault’s discussions of strategies of confinement and enclosure in colonial Africa and extending the threads of their discussions, I argue that in Senegal, French authorities endlessly deployed efforts to enclose the territorial state by producing a territorial penal space emerging along a network of thirty-three prisons. However, my analysis of prison location is also informed by R. D. Sacks’s and Sally Engle Merry’s well-known studies on “territoriality” and “spatial governmentality.” Sack argues that “circumscribing things in space or on a map . . . identifies places, areas, or regions in the ordinary sense, but does not itself create a territory. This delimitation becomes a territory only when its boundaries are used to affect behaviors by controlling access.”26 He goes on to define territoriality as a tactic “to affect influence, or control people, phenomenon, and relationships, by delimiting and asserting control over a geographical area (the territory) with very specific advantages.” Along the same line, Sally Merry defines the concept of “spatial governmentality” that derives from Foucault’s notion of governmentality as “new mechanisms of social ordering based on spatial regulation that target spaces rather than persons.”27 Prison location in French Senegal clearly reflected these tactics and fell within the sphere of techniques of “territoriality,” mechanisms of “spatial governmentality,” and the historical “geographies of detention and punishment,”28 a concept employed by geographers in their studies of space, place, and penalty. It functioned as a way to impose a disciplinary system of surveillance and control that was not utilized solely in prisons but outside them as well. Yet, the significance and impact of prison location in French Senegal can be better understood by analyzing it in space and time. The colonial state produced a territorial penal space through policies and practices, implemented over a 150-year period, and that were based on a thoughtful choice of prison sites. Prison location in colonial Senegal was dictated by the nature of the expansion and consolidation of French rule. The establishment of French domination in Senegal beyond Saint-Louis and Gorée rested on the seizure of key points along the Senegal, Salum, and Casamance rivers, from where the conquest of the interior of the territory was launched. Practically speaking, the aim of the location scheme or the broader pattern in prison location was to build as many prisons as possible along the points of French presence. At the same time, prison construction was to be advanced by systematically combining territorial administration and linear patterns. Soon after the French reoccupied Senegal, they built the first prisons in their headquarters of



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Saint-Louis and Gorée in 1820. In the following decades, they built prisons in every direction: in Dakar, after they occupied that coastal town in 1857; around their commercial enclaves and military posts of Richard Toll, Dagana, Podor, and Bakel along the Senegal River; and in Sédhiou in Southern Senegal. Except for Dakar, the enclaves founded from 1818 onward became with Saint-Louis and Gorée the seven arrondissements created in 1863 by Governor Jauréguiberry. Jauréguiberry formalized the approach of his predecessor, Governor Faidherbe, which was to establish territorial administration through the division of annexed territories into cercles, thereby giving Senegal the administrative substance of a directly ruled French colony.29 The arrondissements were run by commandants appointed by the governor, who fixed their administrative duties, including the administration of justice and maintenance of public order. The same year that Saint-Louis became an arrondissement, it opened its brand new prison. Those early prisons, which stood as the symbolic nucleus of what would later become a widespread prison network, paved the way for more prisons in the interior of Senegal. By 1888, prisons had extended inward with the establishment of the first juvenile penitentiary in Thiès, a booming town by then thanks to its strategic position along the Dakar-Saint-Louis Railway, which was completed in 1885.30 The railway line passed through Thiés, which later became the headquarters of the Thiès-Bamako Railway finished in 1909. From the l890s, which corresponded to the end of the military phase of the French conquest, prisons continued to be built in Senegal’s interior owing to this extended transportation system and the rapid expansion of peanut production, which led to mass population movements and a reorientation of trading activities to the Peanut Basin. The twentieth century witnessed a rapid expansion of prison construction, as imprisonment became the dominant form of punishment. For instance, by the first decade of the twentieth century, Siin-Saalum, at the heart of the Peanut Basin, had established its economic dominance.31 It was one of the most populous cercles in Senegal with four administrative districts: Fatick, Foudiougne, Nioro, and Kafrine. Each district had its own detention center, although as noted by Colonial Inspector Ravenel, who toured the cercle in 1919,32 they were inadequate to accommodate the growing numbers of prisoners. For security reasons, most inmates from those districts were transferred to the Kaolack prison, one of the largest penal facilities along with the prisons of Saint-Louis and Dakar. In 1916, the Peanut Basin also became home to the Agricultural Penitentiary of Bambey, the second penitentiary school designated for minor offenders. The early 1920s saw the end of the pacification of annexed territories, a resumption of taxation, forced labor, military recruitments, and the arbitrary use of the Indigénat system, all of

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which combined to fuel more prison construction. These new prisons were constructed throughout the colony after a 1922 survey of existing penal facilities called for the building of new prison models on a large scale. The only prison model erected, however, was the Dakar prison, built in 1924, the same year Dakar became the Circumscription of Dakar and Dependencies with a separate administration. However, the majority of prisons, mainly rural ones, were built or opened after the 1922 prison survey. Between 1927 and 1936, prisons continued to spread out rapidly in the wake of mounting concerns about increasing prison breaks and delinquency, as well as the impact of the 1936 Monguillot mission, which argued for the benefits of prison labor to better rehabilitate prisoners.33 In 1927, the colonial administration closed the Agricultural Penitentiary of Bambey, which had failed in its mission to rehabilitate minor offenders. A year later, the École Professionnelle Spéciale de Carabane opened in Casamance, thereby marking a new stage in the treatment of delinquent youth that articulated reformation through professional training. Similarly, between 1936 and 1939, three penal camps were headquartered in the cercles of Thiès, Louga, and Kaolack. The pace of prison construction slowed in the 1940s and 1950s. Only four new ones were built: Rufisque received a brand new prison in 1942 and Dakar welcomed a penal camp in 1943. A reeducation center known as the Niani Center for minor male offenders opened its doors in 1950 in the coastal town of MBour in the cercle of Thiés. The final facility was the CAOMI of Hann, a job-skill training youth prison in Dakar that opened in 1955. The last decade of French rule witnessed no prison construction. Yet, by 1960, when the French left Senegal, thirty-three penitentiaries had already enclosed the natives into a territorial penal space constructed around early towns, forts, missions, commercial enclaves, administrative districts, trading posts, and key economic areas. The location of prisons was apparent in the toll that they exacted on the colony’s landscape. Prisons were built everywhere in every location considered possible and necessary; colonial officials even tried to replace “illegible and potentially seditious space”34 with prisons. In 1960, when Senegal became independent, its area was estimated to be 57,000 square miles, across which were scattered the 33 prisons left behind by the French. Senegal’s political and judicial positions within the French West African (FWA) Federation further fast-tracked the creation of its prison network. As the headquarters of the French federal government, Senegal was home to the Homologation Chamber, a court that reviewed all sentences exceeding five years that had been given by the courts in each colony. It was also home to the busiest Appeals Court and the four remaining Muslim tribunals in FWA and was a penal host-colony for victims of administrative internment. At the same



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time, due to its position as France’s oldest colony in West Africa, Senegal served as a laboratory for penal policies in FWA and appropriate adaptations of metropolitan penal practices to French African colonies. The mapping of prisons in French Senegal through time and space reveals that the French had sought to control the lives of prisoners and non-prisoners by fixing into the location of prisons the means to achieve such control. Merely by their geographical setting, prisons served more than one primary function: they created a sense of territoriality and became the essence of a colonial social order. Their deliberate physical layout also conveyed crimecontrol by enhancing the visibility of imprisonment and by publicly expressing its crude reality. Furthermore, prisons were immediately apparent as meaningful symbols intended to remind the African populations of the French presence in Senegal. Wherever they went, Africans encountered the face of imprisonment in the form of prison buildings. All these factors position prison location in French Senegal as part of crime-control mechanisms intended to manage what was perceived to be a growing criminality. Behind the vast prison network lay the foundation for the development of colonial social order. By consciously distributing prisons in every direction and place, the French projected their power and influence over the native population. The penal space that emerged along the vast network of prison facilities created a “territory” over which offenders were neutralized and non-offenders continuously under strict control. Yet, to what degree were Africans able to circulate or move within that “territory”? The penal space anchored around the location of prisons could not confine entire populations of course, but those who entered it were subjected to more stringent control of their behavior and movements. Thus, the location of colonial prisons in Senegal confirms the “significance of specific spaces and places in configuring colonialism and the experiences of Africans living under colonial rule.”35 But why did prisons exist in some areas and not others? Prison Location: Security Concerns, Isolation, and Urban Arguments Spatial Security, Public Safety, and Urban Order This section illustrates political mechanisms that facilitated space-based solutions to security and public safety issues in nineteenth and twentieth century Senegal. Prison location in colonial Senegal reflected French ideologies of urban social order, public safety, and spatial security. This section argues that the geographical layout of colonial prisons in Senegal was closely associated with territorial security and public safety. These ideologies, which

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were part of the larger processes of making the colony of Senegal a safe place for Europeans, emerged at the beginning of the French presence in Senegal. In the late seventeenth century and the early eighteenth century, the French built fortifications and military posts in strategic points to protect and expand their commercial transactions with the Senegal riverine states and to repel foreign attacks on the borders of the colony.36 Territorial security was such a high priority that the real functional distinctions between fortifications and posts were blurred. Built on the Senegal River beginning in 1818, the forts of Bakel, Médine, and Podor served as trading and defensive points. As discussed earlier, this string of fortifications expanded French jurisdiction on the Senegal River from the mid-1850s, thereby announcing the formation of the colony of Senegal and the conquest of the remainder of West Africa.37 One of the first actions of the French after consolidating their hold on Senegal at the end of the nineteenth century was to maintain security and public safety, mainly in urban areas. Frequently, security and public safety served as metaphors for control. The French enforced security and public safety in Senegal through pacification of the annexed territories, establishment of administrative institutions, delineation of borders, neutralization of resistant groups and individuals, the classification of ethnic groups, census taking, taxation, and issuance of ID cards.38 In every respect, these processes were aimed at controlling African mobility. These mechanisms implemented to control mobility gave rise to a range of repressive measures to deal with growing public disorder. In Senegal, the colonial state engaged in a severe crackdown on deviant behaviors mainly in urban areas. On May 15, 1840, a local decree created a police station in Saint-Louis.39 Likewise, on February 28, 1848, Governor Bouët Willaumez authored a decree that established a gendarme unit (police troops under army control).40 The same day that the Abolition Act was enacted, begging and vagrancy were criminalized. Rather than serving as an incentive to take steps to prevent these new categories of criminality, the Abolition Act put the authorities who “were consumed with fear of the vagabond” (as they were back home in France41) on notice to begin preparing for an anticipated widespread increase in the numbers of vagabonds and beggars. Under the 1832 Penal Code that amended the French Penal Code of 1810, vagabondage and begging were punishable by 3–6 months’ imprisonment and 5–10 years of police surveillance (interdiction de séjour). In the name of “moral panic” and public concerns regarding venereal diseases, prostitution was designated as a sign of immorality and deviance, and an alarming social and urban problem. The decree of March 20, 1849, that had established a healthcare service in Saint-Louis served to criminalize prostitution by defining prostitute as “any girl or woman working as a prostitute and earning a living from such



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practice.”42 Prostitutes became subject to more judicial and health control measures that were punitively enforced. An act decreed in 1864 in Senegal required prostitutes to undergo mandatory medical checkups; failure to comply resulted in fines or prison terms.43 This policy seemed to regulate the practice of prostitution, which “was seen as a threat to public health.”44 These repressive measures (expelling beggars, prostitutes, and vagabonds from cities and towns) codified in language and practice the colonial state’s desire to protect its interests and establish an urban order by ensuring public safety. In doing so, these measures attempted to transfer entire French metropolitan perceptions of these groups. From the 1880s to the Great War, vagabondage was “France’s most serious social problem; one third to onehalf of all arrests in Paris in the 1880s were for vagabondage.”45 However, replicating the metropolitan discourse on prostitution proved impossible in Senegal where prostitution, vagabondage, beggary, and deviance did not exist in the French metropolitan sense. Still, French officials used an approach that was characteristic of the way the French metropolitan society dealt with deviance. As Momar-Coumba Diop reminds us in his important study of deviance in colonial Senegal, the French used derogatory terms deeming prostitution, vagabondage, and beggary as fléaux sociaux, or social curses in order to eradicate them, as they were believed to pose great risks to urban governance.46 In cracking down severely on these fléaux sociaux, Diop argues, the colonial administration intentionally blurred the line between vagabonds and beggars and people with no fixed or known residency. These exclusionary policies provided the impetus and the ideological underpinnings for the location and relocation of colonial prisons in specific sites. French Policy of Locating Prisons: Isolation and Relocation In her study of nineteenth-century French prisons, Patricia O’Brien argues that the goal of reformers was a prison system that would isolate inmates from society to reduce concerns regarding public safety.47 In French Senegal, public safety and territorial security, as envisioned and carried out, had been priorities for the colonial state, which was primarily interested in protecting its own interests. The locations of colonial prisons were deeply intertwined with these state concerns. These safety and security considerations were what prompted the French to choose Gorée, an island south of the westernmost tip of Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, and Saint-Louis, another island on the mouth of the Senegal River, to establish their first commercial entrepôts. These enclaves dictated their choice of strategic points along the Senegal and Casamance Rivers to build forts, fortifications, and castles to promote and protect trade, as discussed earlier. These same considerations also resulted in their preference for similar sites to build prisons.

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In the French policy of locating prisons, the metaphor of isolation resonated. Great care was taken to build prisons on sites that were believed to be safe and that would deter potential escapees and keep prisoners away from the general population. Thus, prison location had a foundation in the geographical reality of the colony: prisons fanned out from islands and areas around permanent sources of water into otherwise uninhabitable areas. The establishment of the first prisons at Saint-Louis and Gorée relates to the early presence of the French there. Yet, even within Saint-Louis and Gorée, safety and security concerns resulted in the decision to isolate inmates from the general population. In 1820, an old commercial warehouse located just above the Senegal River was turned into Saint-Louis’s prison. After the building was fixed and the owner compensated, Saint-Louis’s first prison opened its doors.48 That same year, a rented house in Gorée was transformed into a makeshift prison. Commonly called the geôle of Gorée, it was near the military camp, a convenient location that afforded a measure of safety, as the French espoused the economic benefit of using soldiers also as prison guards. Some forty years later, in 1863, the bagne (hard labor prison) of SaintLouis was built right on the Senegal River.49 The river, conveniently central to the civil, administrative, military, and judicial establishments symbolized the geopolitical presence of the French in Senegal and building the prison next to it solidified that presence. More specifically, the prison was on the island of Ndar, alongside wharves, thus echoing the maritime location of French metropolitan bagnes.50 Notwithstanding the presence of inmates sentenced to long terms at hard labor, this Saint-Louis facility did not have many of the characteristics associated with bagnes. Their most crucial element, workshops, was missing, leading to the transfer of Senegalese convicts to the bagnes of Brest and Toulon in France. It is easy, therefore, to understand why the prison in Saint-Louis had by 1875 become a house of arrest and correction,51 a categorization it has maintained after 150 years of existence. The Saint-Louis prison was an embodiment of the French presence in Saint-Louis and Senegal, while at the same time reflecting the spatial expression of prison location in the French colony. Located on Adamson Street, it stood between Andre Brue Street on the left and the Place de la Geôle on the right, next to the Mangin Bridge, which was commonly called Le Pont de la Geôle because of its proximity to the prison. The Mangin Bridge linked the northern part of the island to Ndar-Toute. Across from the prison’s main entrance was the famous “Sëk Bor” or “the King’s place,” a space today occupied by houses, but at that time was an execution site.52 Adamson, Brue, and Mangin were all individuals who had left their marks on the history of Senegal either as governors or as explorers.



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The attractiveness of islands and coastal properties as the ideal prison sites for isolating prisoners continued until the early part of the twentieth century, thereby highlighting the penal spatial value that the French ascribed to them. In 1924, a new oceanfront prison was built in Dakar, in the most rock-strewn, rough, and advanced section of the Cap-Vert Bay, accessible by a unique pathway, all of which earned it renown as one of the largest and most secure prisons in FWA (alongside the Bamako prison).53 Three years later, in 1928, Carabane Island in the Casamance region became home to the École Professionelle de Carabane for minor offenders from Senegal and neighboring French Sudan. Carabane was the quintessential frontier island. Visiting Casamance in 1937, Mrs. Denise Marie Savineau, a colonial agent, described its exact location. She noted: “Ziguinchor nestled at a far distance from Oussouye. From there, you reach a coastal region by crossing huge rice fields. From the coast, you pass cross three isles, and you arrived at the fourth island, which is Carabane.”54 She was so upset that she blasted the administration’s irrational decision to locate the penitentiary school in such a remote area. Her sentiments regarding Carabane were not shared by the colonial authorities, who continued to send young offenders there until 1950, when they finally decided to close the school. These islands were so appealing to the authorities that they decided to send Senegalese prisoners over the borders to Fotobah, in the Loos Islands, in neighboring French Guinea. A women’s prison was built in “Fotobah, an island nearby Conakry.”55 However, in 1938, the government contemplated transforming the island’s other prison into a federal penitentiary in order to reinforce the federal penal camp system, but above all to isolate “all prisoners sentenced to hard labor, reclusion (or imprisonment with labor), collective banishment to more than five years, as well as all individuals, deemed dangerous in their colonies of origin.”56 This isolation measure was backed by the Decree of June 17, 1938, which stipulated that “from now on, forced labor sentences will be served in a Maison de force.” However, isolating prisoners on islands and semi-islands was not unique to Senegal; it was a common practice in FWA. The choice of Gorée, Saint-Louis, Carabane, Dakar, and Fotabah reveals that the insular location of prisons was a recognized practice in the metropolitan and colonial penal systems. In the literature on French prisons, Guyana, Guadeloupe, and Laos were portrayed as prototypes of the geographical marginality of penal colonies, substantiating Patricia O’Brien’s argument that in France “confinement in the penal colonies of Africa and South America became a popular punishment at the end of the nineteenth century.”57 The British employed a very similar approach to prison location. George Griffith, an agent of the British Colonial Ministry, wrote a compelling account of convicts in New Caledonia, depicting the island as “a prison land and a place

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of banishment over an illimitable stretch of ocean and through the hazes of distance.”58 Yet, the insularity of prison sites is not a recent innovation. In ancient Greece, “insularity” became a kind of captivity and the fact of being surrounded engraves a person’s freedom. Abandonment goes with total loneliness and absence of survival possibilities.59 This demonstration of the ancient western practice of isolating prisons and their populations leads me to argue for the nonspecificity of colonial prisons. Thus, the French practice of placing persons and prisoners into secluded sites in Senegal was not an innovation but followed long-time practices that were slow to disappear in many European countries. Uninhabitable spaces were also of considerable importance as tools to subjectively isolate prisoners. The placement of inmates in secluded prison sites doubly isolated them as they had to overcome both penal confinement and environmental confinement. In 1939, Colonial Inspector Lassalle-Séré visited the prisons in Senegal and completed a report outlining the need to build a large prison camp to house all dangerous inmates and recidivists whose disorderly conduct disrupted the functioning of the Louga penal camp. He proposed locating the new camp along the Atar-Tindouf road in the desert, somewhere between Fort-Gouraud and Bir Meghrein, 200 kilometers north of Atar and 1,000 kilometers from Saint-Louis.60 Justifying his choice, Lassalle-Séré concluded that “in this remote area, an inmate could be left alone without any control because escaping means death.” His proposal was backed by his colleague, Inspector Moretti, who carried out an investigation of prisons across the federation of FWA in 1939. Moretti suggested sending hardened prisoners the farthest away. Not only did he approve of the new camp, but he proposed the creation of two more camps to be located along the Gao-Reggain road and the Zinder-Djanet road. Both sites were very far from any population center: an inmate could be left alone in such an area so isolated and hostile that the possibility of escape was so remote, even under the harshest forms of surveillance.61 Here is an accurate encapsulation of colonial officials’ strategic choice of secluded areas for prison sites. Imprisonment in desert regions or other hostile environments was a potential death sentence that hung over the heads of prisoners. The isolation and wildness of prison sites in colonial Africa even spawned a fictional literature. In his widely read book, Grain of Wheat, Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiong’O underlines how the British chose hostile areas to build detention camps in Kenya during the Mau-Mau rebellion.62 The appeal of islands, seashores, and desert areas is their natural isolation and open spaces. The French capitalized on these features to map natural, isolated, and open prison sites that naturalized the isolation of prisoners from the general population. The isolated location of prison sites did not lessen their importance; they were integral parts of territorial processes.



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As the colonial period progressed, however, the policy of isolating inmates and prison sites became less effective because a new distribution of penitentiaries altered this process. As the number of facilities increased, colonial prisons branched out into civil prisons, houses of arrest, houses of correction, houses of arrest and correction, penal labor camps, and penitentiary schools, all of which invaded cities, towns, and rural areas. Furthermore, “the geography of detention and imprisonment”63 in colonial Senegal was composed of a division of prison sites into urban prison sites and nonurban prison sites, further modifying the isolation scheme. While most nonurban prisons were located adjacent to the colonial administrators’ residencies, old forts, and military camps, urban prisons became part of cities’ administrative landscape anchored around police and gendarmerie stations, tribunals, hospitals, and city halls. In addition, increasing populations, as well as urbanization initiatives and policies, sparked the reconfiguration of African urban spaces, thereby justifying the relocation of prisons to the margins of population centers. When built in the center of cities or places with nice scenery, prisons were deemed to obscure the urbanization programs initiated to create European and African neighborhoods, parks, and leisure and entertainment facilities, and to transform African cities in ways similar to those initiated in cities in France.64 Thus, new efforts to relocate urban prisons emerged amid land disputes and changing colonial ideologies about urban space and public order. For instance, in 1918, Governor Levêque penned a letter to the head of the Public Work Service asking him to find a new site to relocate the civil prison in Dakar. He wrote: Built at a time when no one could predict the extension and importance of the city, the prison stands now at the center of this locality, in a place with a nice view. This place could no longer be used for this purpose. When the prison is relocated to another point of the district, we will turn this place into something that would benefit our interests in French West Africa.65

The reason given for relocating the prison from downtown Dakar revealed a new appetite for valuable land. French policy created new sources of turmoil by displacing many landowners. Before and after 1918, Dakar experienced different urbanization programs and urban space policies that resulted in the modification and reconfiguration of the city’s landscape. The cleaning and draining of the city’s sewage system and the creation of new planned neighborhoods made land ownership a major issue. Between 1904 and 1914, land disputes between French and Lebu, Dakar’s main landowners, intensified, as a significant amount of land was taken from the Lebu for administrative purposes.66 The transformation of Dakar into a European city and a modern commercial district between 1914, date of the creation of the African village of Médina and 1924 when Dakar became the Circumscription of Dakar and

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Dependencies, rapidly propelled the growth of the city and its population. In 1926, Dakar’s population was estimated “at 42,152 inhabitants. Among these, 3,206 were Europeans.”67 Dakar’s urban growth necessitated the relocation of the prison, but the process to find a new site took close to a decade as land disputes intensified and land became scarce. Efforts to relocate Dakar’s first prison began in 1915 when city officials identified a new site in the Route de l’Ambulance neighborhood, but fears for the white community living nearby prompted officials to quickly change their minds. They next opted for another site inside the camp des tirailleurs, where they hoped to reduce staff costs by using the tirailleurs as prison guards. This idea was eventually rejected by Dakar’s attorney general out of fear that the one-and-a-half mile distance from the camp to the courthouse would increase the time it took to transfer inmates on hearing days. Guesswork and disagreements among colonial officials stalled efforts to relocate the prison, all to the detriment of inmates who continued to be confined in an unhealthy environment. Finally, officials all agreed on a new site near the Abattoirs in the newly-created African village of Medina, which was not far from the Bay of the Madeleines and the western shore of the Atlantic Ocean (Figure 2.1). Dakar’s new prison became fully operational in 1924, despite being relatively distant from the downtown, where the courthouse, the native and military tribunals, and the police headquarters were located. The combined effects of land disputes and complex urban planning programs continued to provide justifications for the relocation of urban prisons. More excuses for relocating prisons rested on claims that many facilities had very low or limited capacities; therefore they had to be rebuilt to satisfy new norms regarding prison standards. These suppositions hastened the displacement of urban prisons to the margins of cities. Many prisons that had been located in urban centers were dispersed on the peripheries. In 1938, the administrator of Casamance reported to the governor his choice of the city’s new prison site. He wrote: “After consulting the Head of the Public Work Service, it appears that a high capacity prison could be built at the periphery of the town along the left side of the road to Kandé on a piece of land across the cemetery.”68 Here is another tangible example of colonial authorities’ isolation of prison sites; inmates deserved to be not with the living, but with the dead. Thus, by mapping both prisons and cemeteries to the outskirts of cities, they equated prisoners with the dead. New prisons continued to be laid out on the margins of colonial cities. In 1938, members of the Surveillance Committee of the Kaolack prison contended that: A new prison suitable to its function should be built at a safe distance from this growing agglomeration. Currently, the Société de Prévoyance, the Rural School, and the Gendarmerie are nearby the prison while the military camp is adjacent to it. Across the prison, we plan on building a zoo, a technical center,



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Figure 2.1.  Site and location of Dakar civil prison (Plot # 191) Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

and a well to turn this area where presently exists a European neighborhood into a valuable place. The prison’s sparse iron-fence allows prisoners to communicate with the outside world.69

Those conclusions precipitated the removal of the prison from the city.70 However, beneath the reliance on urbanization programs as a reason to displace prisons was a constant fear of living in close contact with prisoners,

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mainly those who performed outdoor works for the colonial services. The proximity of prisons to white neighborhoods and business centers, a solution previously encouraged to protect Europeans from an increase in criminal behavior, began to be perceived as a risk factor. The following report is a perfect example: The murder of a European woman by two prisoners serving time raised serious concerns about the flight risk that could present to the public safety the freedom given to some detainees, in particular, those working outdoors. Beyond these public safety concerns, the lack of control and discipline of prisoners is politically embarrassing as it makes the natives believe that we are powerless and incapable of running the colony.

If this murder reinforced colonial officials’ belief that inmates performing outdoor work posed a real threat to public safety, it also reinforced their fears of political failure, by making the natives think the French officials were not up to their jobs. Removing prisons from urban areas was such a serious matter that it was decided at the federal level. In 1944, Governor Dagain of Senegal submitted to Pierre Cournarie, acting governor-general of FWA, the findings of a commission on a future reform of the prison system in Senegal. The report recommended that “prisons be built far-off the communities in order to fulfill the isolation and independence required for the site of a prison.”71 The rapid growth of cities such as Saint-Louis, Dakar, Thiès, and Kaolack, along with their increasing crime rates, may have influenced the committee’s conclusions. Dakar, capital of the FWA Federation and the capital of Senegal, had attracted an enormous number of migrants in the 1920s. In the 1930s and 1940s, it ranked as the third-largest city in black Africa after Ibadan and Lagos.72 Likewise, the development of new economic magnets such as the Dakar harbor had sparked mass migrations from rural areas. For instance, internal migration contributed to the Medina neighborhood, having a population density of more than 700 persons per hectare.73 The population of the Circumscription of Dakar and Dependencies rose from 42,152 in 1926 to 69,102 in 1932 and 98,101 in 1936. The addition of Rufisque to the Circumscription of Dakar in 1937 brought the total population to 126,903. Of this total, more than 100,000 people lived in the Commune of Dakar.74 The European population also rose exponentially from “3,206 in 1926 to almost 10,000 in 1932, but declined slightly to 9,055 in 1937 due to the economic crisis of the 1930s.”75 Mass migrations to urban areas created new categories of criminals, particularly among the so-called undesirables or those without a known residence. The Dakar prison is a good example of this shift, as the increase in its population mirrored the increase in the general population (see Table 2.1).

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Table 2.1.  Number of inmates at the Dakar prison, 1927–1938 Years

Number of Inmates

1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938

260 286 315 200 330 260 290 320 333 315 316 400

Source: The Carcassonne Mission, 1939, 11-2 (ANOM 61COL633).

The growth of cities, along with high crime rates, partly accounted for the relocation of urban prisons to the margins. As in Vietnam, these prisons were “distinguished by their geographical remoteness from larger population centers,”76 thereby showing a certain trend in French colonial penal policies. However, the relocation of urban prisons to the outskirts of cities also illustrated the contradictions inherent in the prison location scheme; not only were the prisons isolated, but they remained far from the centers of political decisions or military services that could intervene in the event of a crisis—a situation that was not unique to Senegal.77 The isolation of prison sites and the relocation of prisons to the peripheries illuminated French politics of restructuring urban spaces in Senegal. In the French mindset, the criminality of prisoners placed them in the category of Africans who had no right to the colonial cities. Because the majority of urban prison populations came from categories of individuals labeled as undesirables or floating populations who had neither fixed residences nor incomes to support themselves, unsubstantiated claims were propounded to keep them away from white neighborhoods. Many prisons were moved to the peripheries on this basis alone, thus reproducing the same logic applied to African neighborhoods. However, medical and public health concerns accelerated the relocation process, masking what was actually a form of racial segregation. PRISON LOCATION IN SENEGAL: PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS AND THE HYGIENIST DISCOURSE The role of medical discourse in colonial urban segregation is a wellresearched issue. Indeed, a huge scholarship has investigated urbanization

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processes in colonial Africa and how spatial segregation derived from environmental control and public health policies.78 Yet, analyses of institutions such as prisons in connection to those processes or policies are lacking. The raison d’être of this omission is that many scholars looking at urban planning and health issues in Africa tackled these issues by considering cities as global entities. They overlooked certain institutions whose presence or absence in the cities helped to explain or define cities’ spatial organization or social relations within urban areas. This omission was unfortunate, as it would have shed light on how people viewed and accessed those institutions. Thus, studies on diseases and health policies in Senegal would gain more impetus by looking at prisons as breeding grounds for disease outbreaks. Recent scholarly research has looked at how efforts to deal with diseases and epidemics in Africa reshaped social, economic, and political relationships in French and British Africa.79 Health policies and colonial policies were closely intertwined. The use of sanitary cordons to limit Africans’ mobility and disrupt their commercial and social relationships and the random clustering of African habitations to reduce contagion were mechanisms of social control. Steven Feierman argues that urban segregation originated partly in early patterns of environmental control in military encampments carried out ostensibly on the grounds of health.80 Maynard Swanson makes similar arguments in her study of “the sanitation syndrome” in South Africa. She stresses that the sanitation and public health policies that provided the legal means to quickly remove African populations sustained the rationale for permanent urban segregation.81 Likewise, Harriet Deacon explains how the social metaphor of disease became an effective mechanism to maintain political pressure over Africans and to keep them away from Europeans’ residences.82 French health policies in Senegal support these points; strict sanitary measures were initiated to protect Europeans from diseases and Africans who might transmit them, including in prisons. Health was a major concern for Europeans in Africa, and they sought protection against diseases by living in hill stations and by considering all other places as uninhabitable spaces.83 However, even living in hill stations did not guarantee immunity from diseases. Accounts from explorers and missionaries, and later from medical personnel, are replete with reports on illnesses and diseases as obstacles to French conquest in Senegal. For instance, Saint-Louis early on “developed the reputation of being an unhealthy place.”84 In 1841, there were 170 deaths in the city. Of these, 87 were Europeans. These casualties were blamed on floods that struck Saint-Louis in 1841, a bloody year for Europeans despite Governor Montagniés De La Roque’s persistent efforts to avoid an epidemic that would be more catastrophic for the city.85 In addition, “yellow fever ravaged Gorée in 1830 and returned in 1859 and 1866.



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In 1867, it struck Saint-Louis . . . killing around 300 Europeans.”86 As part of this analysis of the connection between malaria and French imperialism, William Cohen documents the high rates of malaria deaths. In Senegal, “the European death rate between 1819 and 1855 was 106.1 per thousand, with some single years of epidemics going as high as 573.1 per thousand and 610 per thousand as was the case in 1830 and 1859. In the Upper Senegal River in the 1820s two-fifths of the troops died annually.”87 In the same region, “from 1855 to 1865, 60 Europeans died, 59 of illness.”88 Cohen argues that diseases, rather than indigenous resistance, were the main killers.89 Malaria, yellow fever, dysentery, and other tropical diseases delayed the French conquest of Senegal, as well as many of their plans for their new colony. Consumed with an irrational fear of disease, the French constructed a hygienic discourse that racially stereotyped Africans as prone to illness, thus compelling the French to enforce medical campaigns to fight and prevent the spread of diseases in the social and economic centers of white society.90 Likewise, they isolated sectors or institutions that they considered most likely to foster the spread of disease, although these policies and measures did not follow a linear course. During the conquest and pacification periods, health policies were geared toward turning the colony into a healthy place for European populations to ensure their economic interests. Only later, in the 1920s onward with the development of new urban areas that attracted increasing European populations,91 did health policies and medical ideas interweave with urban and racial segregation. In that regard, French metropolitan ideas and health policies were exported to Senegal to turn a place plagued by tropical diseases into a habitable one. The rapid growth of cities in Senegal raised new concerns about disease and germ proliferation in urban areas. The French began enforcing public health regulations that focused on the relationship between health and poor housing conditions in African neighborhoods, as the source of diseases came to be blamed on Africans’ lack of hygiene and their alleged inability to adjust to urban life. Such measures denied them access to certain areas. For example, Dakar officials buffered specific zones in 1904, allegedly on hygienic and social grounds, in order to protect European populations.92 Colonial officials also employed “sanitation legislation”93 to get rid of practices believed to spread germs. A 1912 ordinance prohibited the collection of rainfall on house roofs, bottles, walls, and ground-level containers. Similar measures were enacted for residences. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when yellow fever and plague epidemics hit Senegal, all “unsanitary housing seen as a breeding ground for disease were torn down or set on blaze.”94 The assessment of Senegal’s health problems and the methods used to combat them reflected primarily a concern for the health of the European

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population. These public health policies, which expressed colonial officials’ “hygienic anxieties”95 affected prisons as well. The unhealthy environment conditions in prisons influenced French perceptions of disease outbreak and hygiene in Senegal. Up until the mid-nineteenth century, Paris officials deported criminals to French Guyana instead of to Senegal, “where dysentery was prevalent.”96 The Saint-Louis warehouse/ prison that opened in 1820 was rebuilt years later due to excessive humidity. In Alain Sinou’s words, the prison was so dilapidated and the environment inside so unhealthy that inmates preferred forced labor to being held inside. In 1830, Senegal’s governor sought the Colonial Minister’s approval to transfer Europeans convicted of crimes by local courts to serve their sentences in France. The rationale was the unsanitary conditions of Senegalese prisons, which during that time housed only indigéne inmates.97 These reports, which deemed prisons unhealthy and as prime sources for diseases, provided a more powerful justification for their relocation, especially during epidemics. The relocation of Dakar’s first prison is a perfect example. The 1914 bubonic plague outbreak in Senegal illustrated how health officials enforced sanitary segregation by creating new African neighborhoods. It also showed how prisons were affected by policies of urban segregation. Analyzing the establishment of Medina, Raymond Betts debated “the abrupt manner in which the policy of residential segregation replaced the earlier pattern of co-existence.” The 1914 bubonic plague, he argued, precipitated the creation of Medina, which was justified on medical grounds as the French moved from a policy of containment to a policy of displacement.98 Likewise, Myron Echenberg argues that the story of the 1914 plague is inseparable from the issue of residential segregation.99 Plague ravaged Senegal, with rates of more than 79 deaths per 1,000 for locales known to be sites of the disease,100 sparking panic among both colonizers and the colonized. Not only were there high fatalities and disruption of ordinary life but also people were forced to evacuate their homes and to establish residence in isolated camps created to quarantine contaminated victims.101 Even though the prison of Dakar was outside the plague zone, epidemic regulations dictated that decisions about its relocation be made. Dakar’s first prison was located on Carnot Street in the heart of the Plateau, the main white residential area in Dakar. Paradoxically, Carnot Street was only one street away from the plague zone. In fact, on May 20, 1914, a few days after the epidemic began “there were enough cases outside the ‘cordon sanitaire’ to show that the entire city was contaminated. Nevertheless, officials were reluctant to apply emergency regulations to the entire city, including the mixed and European quarters.”102 However, when they realized that “the cordon, in short, had been designed to isolate infected Africans, but not necessarily infected rats, and certainly not Europeans



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. . . officials extended the plague regulations to include the entire urban area of Dakar,”103 including Carnot Street, and, as a result, the prison. Medical and health responses to the plague epidemic resulted partly in the relocation of the prison of Dakar in the years to come. After the plague receded, the prison was seen as being as dangerously unhealthy as African dwellings. The prison, which by 1914 was too small to accommodate a growing prisoner population, exposed inmates to contamination. Ironically, the quality of the facility had less to do with inmates being infected with the plague than with the Health Service’s use of prisoners. Their employment as boatmen to carry corpses to the cemeteries, as laborers where plague victims were quarantined, and as cleaners of contaminated houses were far more likely to result in the spread of disease in the prison than was the prison environment itself. Echenberg points out that “professional health workers were more exposed to the plague bacillus than the general population. So too were prisoners.”104 According to him, “during the 1929 Saint-Louis epidemic, some 24 inmates out of a prison population of 108 were assigned to work with the city’s health services; seven of them contracted the plague. They were infected despite taking some precautions.”105 Evidence does not give the exact number of inmates who were infected with the plague or who died from it at the Dakar prison. Their “medical” services in combatting the disease were not mentioned in any prison reports either. This silence, however, speaks volumes about the multiple uses of prisoners in French Senegal. In early 1915, as the plague died out, new health regulations were initiated to eradicate it. These ranged from burning to destruction, evacuation, and relocation of dwellings and epidemic sites, including the prison. Colonial authorities pressed for the removal of the Dakar prison from the Plateau neighborhood, but plans to do so were not clear or specific. While plans to remove the prison were made promptly, actions to complete the project failed due to lack of coordination. As previously discussed, it took almost a decade to finally relocate the prison to its current location. In 1916, the members of the prison’s surveillance committee voted for the construction of a prison in the newly created Medina neighborhood. The prison’s low capacity and its unhealthy environment prompted the decision.106 As images of and statistics regarding plague victims remained vivid one year after the epidemic retreated, the committee members emphasized the construction of a new prison with appropriate sanitary conditions, but the project was delayed. In the meantime, Durand, president of the General Council, lobbied for the expansion of the prison and ordered prison officials to pour disinfectants in all latrines and to empty wastewater daily as required by the Public Health Service.107 His orders did not follow the 1914 plague health regulations but

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were modeled after new medical responses that were initiated after the plague struck Dakar again in 1919. In contrast to 1914, the 1919 epidemic affected primarily the Pinet Laprade Boulevard, at the heart of the European neighborhood and, in the core of the city,108 thereby placing the prison in the middle of the plague zone. However, by “February of 1920, the city’s quarantine was finally lifted.”109 After the epidemic, prison officials deemed the prison as a potential source of plague due to poor imprisonment conditions, overcrowding, sanitation problems, and poor diet, despite health officials’ insistence that the institution and its surroundings were plague-free. In 1921, as the search for a new site was proceeding, prison officials warned that the building remained unhealthy. That same year, the General Council called for expansion and repair of the prison to lower the risks of contamination as the plague still threatened the city.110 The project was never finalized; during the same period, a government commission responsible for approving construction projects in Dakar had supported the relocation of the prison on the grounds of public interest. The members of the commission believed that public interest meant protecting the white population residing near the prison from contact with inmates who might be infected with the plague. New “hygienic anxieties” arose in 1922 when Senegal’s attorney general visited the prison and shared with the district attorney of FWA his concerns over inmates being confined in small, unhealthy, poorly ventilated cells. These conditions fed into his fears regarding inmates’ exposure to diseases during the rainy season, and possible contamination by infected inmates of neighboring populations.111 The old prison finally was torn down and a new one was built in 1924 in the segregated African village of Medina. Paradoxically, the prison, believed to be a source of disease, was moved to location classified as a plague zone. Echenberg points out that “despite the high-sounding health concerns expressed, the village of Medina was quite unsanitary.” What mattered most to colonial authorities was to transfer the prison as far as possible from the white residential areas, since new urban planning emerged in the 1930s that sought “to reserve the whole of modern Dakar to the European population,” indicating “overt racism,” according to Raymond Betts.112 The health and safety of convicts did not matter much. This fact stands out when examining prison relocation policies outside the boundaries of Dakar. As prisons were spread out more rapidly in the first decades of the twentieth century, colonial officials endeavored to provide healthier prison environments. They continuously reminded supervisors of the necessity of maintaining minimum hygiene within prisons as this note from Senegal’s governor reflects: “No showers exist at the prison of Dakar. It is imperative to provide prisoners with such facilities so they can shower at least twice a week. In



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a city under constant threat of plague outbreak, showers are a must-be.”113 These measures had obvious racial connotations, for they were implemented to protect European prisoners and white residential areas from disease. In 1931, the governor-general of FWA penned a letter to the administrator of Dakar highlighting his suggestions for the extension of the Dakar civil prison and the renovations needed there: A fence needs to be fixed to protect Europeans living near the prison from a potential yellow fever outbreak that could be transmitted by a mosquito from the Medina neighborhood. Likewise, European inmates have to be separated from African inmates to prevent disease contamination. Three months ago, a European inmate was hospitalized for pernicious malaria that almost killed him.114

The health conditions of European inmates, who, like women, never had separate prisons, was a primary concern for the colonial administration. In 1937, a new ward was built at the Dakar prison to separate Europeans and originiares from native inmates. Visiting the prison two years later, Colonial Inspector Carcassonne applauded the new extension, but he commented that a string of eucalyptus that provided coolness and shade to part of the prison was far from the new quarter built for Europeans, and “he felt sorry for them because they were sensitive to the heat and sun.”115 As malaria and yellow fever still concerned French officials, diseases continued to define the environment of colonial prisons. The historical scholarship on prisons in Senegal shows that inmates had suffered from epidemics that hit the colony, and prisons had experienced sporadic epidemics blamed on poor conditions and bad food, and on badly planned architecture.116 In 1934, plague and then dysentery affected all prisons.117 A decade later, the Dakar prison was struck by an outbreak of measles.118 In 1944, Broche, head of Fatick’s Medical Service, completed a report on health conditions at the B penal camp. He noted that “plague reached the camp as it spread across the colony. With tough preventive measures, this small epidemic is declining and symptoms are less obvious compared to a few weeks ago.”119 The same year, dysentery hit the Kaolack prison. So many prisoners were ill that the prison officials were not able to stop spread of the disease.120 Four years earlier, in the same prison, a meningitis epidemic spread among inmates.121 In 1939, a total of 119 inmates at the Dakar prison were treated for various illnesses at the city’s three medical facilities (Ambulance du Cap Manual, Ambulance de Gorée, and Hospital des Indigénes) because the prison’s small infirmary could not receive and treat all the patients.122 Of these 119, a total of 8 died. In other prisons, inmates died of malnutrition and disease.123 The sanitary measures initiated to contain diseases and epidemics were barely enforced in prisons, while prison officials ignored doctors’ orders to improve prison

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diet and conditions. Likewise, members of prisons’ surveillance committees often disregarded inmates’ claims and requests for better conditions. The common closing remarks of their monthly reports convey their lack of professional conscientiousness: “prisoners are in good shape and health and had no complaints or requests.” As will be discussed later, inmates’ reactions to their detention conditions strongly contradict this assessment and tell another story. The committees also downplayed prison epidemics, describing them as small infections. They often criticized and blamed native prisoners as being responsible for the spread of diseases by ignoring basic hygienic knowledge. Consequently, as most prisons remained unhealthy, the strategy of the administration was not to improve sanitary conditions in existing facilities but to move the facilities to other places. Examining the relocation of colonial prisons is a way to assess the contradictions in public health policies and residential segregation in colonial Senegal. Public health regulations barely touched colonial prisons but deeply influenced decisions about their relocation. The removal of prisons from urban areas was cast in medical terms to protect mainly white neighborhoods and populated areas from potential epidemic outbreaks. The evidence, however, shows that prisons remained unhealthy places. Most sites were not disease-free and displaced prisons were rebuilt with recycled materials from demolished old buildings, as will be discussed in the next chapter. The impact of public health regulations on prison relocation was particularly evident during disease outbreaks, but it did not change significantly during the colonial era. The location and relocation of prisons on the grounds of public health masked residential segregation practices in colonial Senegal. Such practices also illuminated the political economy of prisons. THE PENAL CAMP SYSTEM OR THE ECONOMY OF PRISON LOCATION The practical needs of the colonial state also dictated prison location in French Senegal. Matthew Hannah argues that in the colonies, “inventories of the landscape and people in it allowed more precise calculations of supply needs and labor availability, and may begin to provide controlling powers with information that proved helpful in locating transgressors of colonial law.”124 This argument can be applied to Senegal, as prisons had contributed to the colonial economy by supplying a pool of cheap penal workers. This discussion of penal camp is included in order to analyze the economy of prison location in Senegal.



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The history of forced labor in colonial Africa has been researched extensively in the past two decades.125 Following Herbert’s pioneering work published in 1958, much of the research was devoted to qualitative analyses. However, the lack of research on the topic of the emergence of prison labor as part of the solution to the shortage of workers is obvious. Moreover, despite the rich literature on forced labor, little is known about penal camps. This analysis on prison labor in Senegal illuminates another aspect of the system of forced labor in colonial Africa overlooked by historians of labor in colonial Africa. Prisons were linked to the colonial economy immediately after they emerged. Earlier in this chapter, I discussed the designation of the 1820 warehouse/ prison Saint-Louis as a bagne. Even though the prison lacked many of the features typically associated with bagnes, most of its residents were sentenced to five to twenty years of hard prison labor, a common sentence in the early to mid-nineteenth century and beyond. However, the 1841 Prison Act officially regulated prison labor. It stipulated mandatory work for all slaves sentenced to prison terms, as well as their employment in colonial public services. An additional decree issued on July 21, 1860, included measures to approve the use of inmates in public works. The general structure and conditions of the use of prison labor became effective at the end of the nineteenth century, with an 1892 decree that reshaped prison labor. However, the most significant shift in prison labor policies occurred in the late 1920s. Senegal’s colonial administration and private companies, like those in other colonies, were experiencing an acute labor shortage, which forced the federal government to devise new penal labor legislation. Governor-general Carde was the mastermind behind the new laws. In 1927, Carde authored a decree that structured prison labor in the Federation and he urged all governors to put it into practice. He made it clear that “the Decree of 22 January 1927, organized prison labor in FWA.”126 Fundamental to the structuring of prison labor was the portrayal of African inmates. A discourse of prisoners’ “laziness” informed Carde’s statements; he observed, “it is obvious that the lack of strict regulations in our colonies enables the laziness of some categories of prisoners, thus jeopardizing the surveillance and discipline in our prisons and consequently the interests of colonial states, which currently experienced a shortage of forced labor. Thus, it is the responsibility of colonial administrations to take all measures to sort out this labor shortage. From now on except political prisoners, those in appeal, and the sick, no inmate should be left in idleness.” Therefore, Article 1 of the Decree made penal labor mandatory for common prisoners, soldiers condemned by military courts and serving their sentences in regular prisons,

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victims of disciplinary imprisonment (the Indigénat Code), and debtors condemned by the native courts. The compulsory nature of prison labor strengthened the forced labor system by bringing in a larger number of inmates, thus integrating them into the colonial economy. By expressing French colonial penal labor ideology in West Africa and admitting the seriousness of the shortage of workforce, Carde revealed his perception that prisons were ideal reservoirs of workers who could be used to alleviate the shortage and empowered colonial states to deploy large numbers of inmates in their economies. “Laziness” became a legitimating argument for Carde to determine that “forçats (forced-labor prisoners), hardened criminals, and inmates sentenced to longer prison terms must be employed in the hardest labors,” but also “all persons serving more than two years of imprisonment will be employed in penal camps, which I recommend with no further delay their creation in the different colonies under your jurisdiction.”127 Endorsing the idea and creation of penal camps, he then defined their material organization. The camps, he said, “will be organized in such way to keep them itinerant. Their mobility will have three advantages: allow for their easy transport at the end of work projects, to ensure a great availability of penal labor, and to avoid mapping out a territory like with the penitentiaries in New Caledonia and Guyana, which consequently jeopardized the economic value of these colonies after they were suppressed.” Carde’s statements reinforce my early arguments about how the French mapped out a territorial penal space by dispersing prisons across the colony. As discussed below, the mobility of penal camps did not prevent them from being part of the colonial penal landscape. The significance of prison labor to the economy of FWA was also emphasized in subsequent reports. Two years later, in 1929, Carde refined labor regulations and employment in West Africa, further outlining penal labor as part of the larger system of forced labor to mobilize the African workforce. He ruled that “the labor of natives in FWA comes from their own intention to work (unpaid labor), from fiscal obligations (required labor), military requests, penal labor, and réquisitions from colonial authorities.”128 The Penal Labor Act was modified on October 23, 1932, and September 28, 1938. In systemizing penal labor in West Africa, the French molded it to meet the changing economic demands of the colonial state. The earliest efforts to establish penal camps in Senegal had been undertaken with “the successful trial of the Louga penal camp opened on March 1, 1931.”129 This timing was ideal, as the scarcity of manpower became more acute with the economic depression of the 1930s. Monguillot’s 1936 memorandum on prisons in Senegal was a better expression of the problem of the labor shortage. Monguillot criticized the use of prisoners for small corvées, arguing that “it will



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be more practical to suppress all odd tasks and replace them with massive tasks required for public works.”130 Monguillot’s reasoning included “the bad conditions of existing roads would keep all prisoners in Senegal and Dakar busy for a while.” Restating Carde’s directives to establish penal camps, he proposed locating them “near the public work sites.” In the process of fleshing out his scheme, Monguillot recommended sending to the camps “all inmates sentenced to more than one year of imprisonment”131 instead of the limit of “more than two years of imprisonment” as suggested by Carde. Later, the Monguillot Mission provided the underpinnings for the Decree of January 7, 1939, which organized the regime and service of penal camps in Senegal while signaling more penal camp constructions. While prison labor has been the focus of many studies, the historical scholarship on forced labor in Africa had underestimated prisoners’ contributions to colonial economies. In his book on forced labor in FWA, Senegal historian Babacar Fall argues that prison labor in the Federation was unjustly viewed as insignificant.132 This research and others on convict labor in Senegal suggest that the relative impact of prisons and mainly penal camps on the colony’s economy was much greater than the scholarship regarding forced labor suggests.133 Penal labor was as important as prestations, corvées, and requisitions and should not be underestimated. Our evidence shows that penal camps contributed significantly to road constructions as well as to other valuable public work projects in Senegal, thereby underscoring the economic value of inmates (Figure 2.2). The role and significance of the penal camps should be considered as another chapter of the economic history of Senegal.

Figure 2.2.  Prisoners on a road worksite Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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The administration experienced an urgent need for manpower to build and maintain roads and to facilitate the movement of people, and goods, most of which were cash crops. To secure better access into Senegal and to exploit its resources, the French built new roads and improved existing ones by drawing on labor from penal camps. In 1936, the Louga penal camp inmates built the LougaMpal section of the 288-mile long Dakar-Saint-Louis main highway.134 Two years later, the penal camp was relocated “two kilometers from the town of Kébemer.”135 However, the Louga camp first opened in 1931. Similarly, as mentioned earlier, the A penal camp was built “five kilometers from Thiès”136 but was moved multiple times as roads crossed or passed into or out of Thiès. In his study of French colonization and prison labor in Senegal, Ibra Séne contends that in 1936, “prisoners from the ‘A’ penal camp at Thiès built a section of the 18-kilometer road that linked Thiès to Khombole.” During that time, he explains “the camp was located at Keur Magueye Ndaw, 12 kilometers distant from Thiès.” Later, the A penal camp was moved westward toward Dakar to complete the road that led from Diamniadio to Bargny. In 1937, it was relocated back to Thiès to carry out “the construction of the road between Pout and the Ravin des Voleurs or Thieve Ravine.”137 The French considered the construction of that road to be very crucial to the curtailment of gang and bandit attacks on businessmen and other people traveling between Dakar and Thiès, as well as to break the resistance of the Seréer, the region’s main inhabitants.138 Two years later, the camp was relocated five kilometers from Thiès along the Tivaoune-Saint-Louis main road.139 Similarly, from 1938 to 1941, inmates of the A penal camp also built the road between Thiès and Mekhé. During the project, the camp was displaced successively in Ndande and Kelle. Between 1936 and 1941, the C penal camp inmates built a fifty-kilometer road that led from Saint-Louis to Louga.140 As these examples illustrate, penal camps were located and relocated to keep the pace with road construction. Moreover, penal camps, as suggested by Monguillot and Carde, were itinerant worksites that followed the rhythm of road construction and mining work. It is also interesting that demands for prison labor were not limited to road construction. In 1937, a second penal camp opened in the cercle of SiinSalum, “near the village of Sindiane where newly discovered laterit mines had been excavated for years by prisoners.”141 Later, the village of Koutal in Siin-Salum was the site of B penal camp, whose residents for years had been digging the salt mines that had been found in the region; salt production remained a source of income for the colonial government for many years. Penal labor in colonial Africa did not spare inmates of any age. In the institutions specially provided for them, younger offenders contributed to the



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economy of labor in Senegal. I have already discussed above the opening of a youth prison in Bambey, in the heart of the Peanut Basin; the decision to locate it in this booming economic center was deliberate. The juvenile prison was housed within the town of Bambey’s Agricultural Experimentation Station, the idea being to rehabilitate young offenders through hard labor. In reality, as argued by historian Ibrahima Thioub, the young inmates provided labor for peanut production, the colony’s main cash crop.142 Until 1943, minor offenders at the school of Carabane were employed to perform some manual work categorized as very simple.143 However, the penal workers on roads and mine worksites were men. No colonial records mention the presence of women in penal camps or the road construction crews. The significance of the contribution of penal camps to the colonial economy was reflected in their spatial distribution and categorization. Penal camps were identified by letters of the alphabet or by location, as the French administration placed great emphasis on the connection between labor needs and prison sentences. The camps of Kelle,144 Ndande,145 Diourbel, and Foudioungne,146 and the A penal camp in Thiès received inmates sentenced to at least one-year prison terms, thus reflecting Monguillot’s proposal. The B penal camps housed inmates serving more than one year of imprisonment. Lastly, the C category received recidivists, dangerous criminals, and hard-labor prisoners. This category also had sections for hardened convicts, therefore turning these facilities into dumping grounds for those labeled as têtes dures. This classification system was misleading, however, because inmates were circulated in and out of penal camps as deemed necessary to satisfy labor needs. This scheme proved so dysfunctional that the French enacted the Decree of January 7, 1939, which would have required to combining the three penal camps into a single large one. This proposal was later dismissed due to a lack of funds as well as security and safety concerns about putting so many dangerous and hardened criminals together in one camp. One idea not dismissed and still believed in was using penal camps as large reservoirs of cheap labor. In 1944, colonial officials had planned to build a 500-inmate penal camp facility to be located near huge basalt mines at Khombole, in the cercle of Thiès.147 Their desire to benefit from prison labor grew bigger as demands for workers increased, thus leading to tougher and longer prison sentences during times when prisons and penal camps could not supply the needed workforce. The average prison sentences fluctuated between five and twenty-five years. Historian Babacar Bâ identifies cyclic shortages of prison labor from 1927 to the mid-1930s.148 In 1936, he explains, the Louga penal camp needed at least 150 inmates to complete a 100-kilometer road that linked Louga to Tivaoune, but only 91 prisoners were available to work.149

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Likewise in 1939, the A/Thiès penal camp housed 39 prisoners while 60 of them were needed.150 At the Koutal penal camp, the labor deficit reached 33 percent in May 1944.151 An increase in the number of inmates who escaped from prison also accounted for the acute shortage of penal labor. The 1927 Prison Labor Act came at a time when prisoners frequently escaped from prisons in Senegal. Overall in 1927, 422 prisoners escaped from prisons throughout Senegal,152 pushing governmental officials to subject escapees and their accomplices to longer sentences when recaptured. This move, however, did not prevent escape. In 1938, 19 inmates out of a population of 50 escaped from the A penal Camp in Thiès and 37 out of a total of 90 prisoners escaped from the Louga penal camp.153 The acute need for prison labor, coupled with forced-labor shortages and frequent escapes, sparked a large effort to transfer inmates from prisons throughout Senegal to the penal camps to replenish their populations. For instance, in 1938, 85 inmates from the Dakar prison were moved to the camps of Thiès, Louga, and Kaolack.154 To prevent the abusive use of prisoners, the governor penned a letter to the administrator of Dakar in 1933, reminding him “that only inmates with ten months left on their sentence should be transferred.”155 Yet, when Colonial Inspector Carcassonne visited the Dakar prison in 1939, he observed that “currently, about fifteen inmates sentenced to deportation out of other French West colonies, including ten who had completed their sentences, are waiting for their transfer to the Louga penal camp.”156 Contributing to the sense of urgency to create more penal camps in Senegal was the fear that migration to neighboring colonies would siphon off an even larger pool of workers. In 1936, Chartier, administrator of Ziguinchor, wrote to Jules Surlemont, administrator for colonies, outlining his proposal for a penal camp in the region. He wrote: For the district of Ziguinchor, I admit the benefit that we will gain from creating a penal camp in this city. The huge seasonal migrations of the Diolas to the Gambia and Portuguese Guinea right after the harvests decrease prestation activities. They come back in May-June at the beginning of the rainy season and then leave when we need more help for the construction and maintenance of roads. The camp will be settled near Boguel village (in the Kolda district) to improve and maintain the road between Diana-Malary and Kolda (45 kilometers) in the Sédhiou-Kolda axis.157 All shipping of products passes necessarily through KoldaDiana-Malary to be load up there. More heavy loaded trucks are put into service that is why we need to put more effort into to building this road section. 158

As the Diola fled to neighboring colonies to escape the repressive tactics of the French colonial regime, thereby jeopardizing the supply of labor in the region, prisoners who were believed less likely to escape were used to



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provide prestation services. This further blurred the distinction between the different forms of forced labor. Prestation, a form of forced labor, was “the earliest and crude form of French efforts to capture African labor power.”159 The control of the movement of people and goods in the Ziguinchor region, as well as access to its plentiful resources, proved an enduring rationale. In 2003, Senegal president Abdoulaye Wade re-inaugurated the DianaMalary road for similar purposes. Currently, all goods from the eastern and southern parts of Senegal go down that road. Populations in the area and those traveling down that road probably ignore that it was built largely by convicts from the Ziguinchor penal camp in 1938. The administration’s strategy to connect the colony’s different regions to better exploit their resources was also instrumental in the process. CONCLUSION The study of the location and relocation of prisons in colonial Senegal displays the true nature of the penal policies initiated by French authorities. Decisions about the locations of prisons were not made fortuitously; they were made in response to some circumstances and considerations. As the French dotted the colony with a vast network of prisons, they shifted their discourse on imprisonment. They first used prisons to establish public security, control African mobility, secure the territorial space, and enforce labor. Prisons were built in areas that seemed to offer maximum security to neighboring communities while at the same time deterring escapees. In addition to their isolation, colonial prisons produced a territorial penal space that locked up not only inmates but also helped to control natives’ mobility and behaviors From the late 1910s, prisons were relocated to ward off diseases from cities and white residential areas. Stereotypes about Africans as naturally prone to illness and the perceptions of prisons as areas of contagion and proliferation of diseases played a huge role in decisions to displace prisons to the periphery of colonial cities and towns. However, prisons emerged during the same time as major suppliers of labor. The contradiction between the desire for racial segregation and the need for cheap labor was solved by the building of temporary penal camps alongside roads, railways, airports, bridges, construction sites, ranches, and agricultural stations. In sum, a growing search for security due to growing criminality, racial concerns supported by medical discourses, and economic needs shaped the location of prisons in Senegal. Furthermore, prison location mirrored spatial control policies set by the colonial state to keep an eye on both prisoners and the colonized at large.

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NOTES 1.  Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference,” Cultural Anthropology 7, no. 1 (1992): 8. 2.  Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978). 3. David Arnold, “Tropical Medicine before Manson” in Warm Climates and Western Medicine in the Emergence of Tropical Medicine, 1500–1900, ed. David Arnold (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2003), 5–10. 4.  David Arnold, “India’s Place in the Tropical World, 1770–1930,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 26, no. 1 (1998): 2. 5. Judith T. Kenny, “Climate, Race, and Imperial Authority: The Symbolic Landscape of the British Hill Station in India,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 85, no. 4 (1995): 694. 6.  Ibid., 703. 7. Odile Goerg, “From Hill Station (Freetown) to Downtown Conakry (First Ward): Comparing French and British Approaches to Segregation in Colonial Cities at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 32, no. 1 (1998): 1–31. 8.  Maynard W. Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome: Bubonic Plague and Urban Native Policy in the Cape Colony, 1900–1909,” Journal of African History 18, no. 3 (1977): 388. 9.  Goerg, “From Hill Station,” 8. 10.  Kenny, “Hill Station in India,” 698. 11.  Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Pantheon Books, 1971). 12.  In his discussion of the use of space and land in Europe from the renaissance to the nineteenth century, Anthony D. King pointed out that “in pre-capitalist European cities, land use was assigned on social and functional rather than economic criteria, thus rigid segregation of social groups was not the rule. With the emergence of capitalism, a free market in land developed. With industrialization and the development of a class system from the early nineteenth-century, social structure in European cities increasingly became expressed in the spatial and built environment,” in “Colonial Cities: Global Pivots of Change,” in Colonial Cities: Essays on Urbanism in a Colonial Context, eds. Raymond F. Betts, Robert J. Ross, and Gerard J. Telkamp (Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff, 1985), 13. 13. Christopher Gray, Colonial Rule and Crisis in Equatorial Africa: Southern Gabon ca.1850–1940 (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002), 19. 14.  Ibid., 19. 15.  J. N. Noyes, Colonial Space: Spatiality in the Discourse of German SouthWest Africa, 1884–1915 (Philadelphia: Hardwood Academic Press, 1992). 16.  Ambe J. Njoh, “Colonial Philosophies, Urban Space, and Racial Segregation in French and British Africa,” Journal of Black Studies 38, no. 4 (2008): 588. 17.  Lynn Schler, “Ambiguous Spaces: The Struggle over African Identities and Urban Communities in Colonial Douala, 1914–1945,” The Journal of African History 44, no. 1 (2003): 51–72.



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18.  Thomas Spear, “‘A Town of Strangers’ or ‘A Modern Model East African Town’? Arusha and the Arusha,” in Africa’s Urban Past, eds. David Anderson and Richard Rathbone (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2000), 111. 19.  Andrew Burton, African Underclass: Urbanisation, Crime, and Colonial Order in Dar es Salaam (Oxford and Athens: James Curry and Ohio University Press, 2005). 20. Matthew Hannah, “Space and the Structuring of Disciplinary Power: An Interpretive Review,” Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography 79, no. 3 (1997): 176. 21.  Florence Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa,” in A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, eds. Florence Bernault (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003), 1–55. 22. Christopher Gray, “L’Enfermement de l’Espace: Territoriality and Colonial Enclosure in Southern Gabon,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, 165. 23.  Ibid., 165–66. 24.  Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure,” 34. 25.  Pierre Boilley, “Administrative Confinements and Confinements of Exile: The Reclusion of Nomads in the Sahara,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, 221. 26.  Robert D. Sack, Human Territoriality: Its Theory and History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 19. 27.  Sally M. Engel, “Spatial Governmentality and the New Urban Social Order: Controlling Gender Violence through Law,” American Anthropologist 103, no. 1 (2001): 16. 28.  Lauren L. Martin and Matthew L. Mitchelson, “Geographies of Detention and Imprisonment: Interrogating Spatial Practices of Confinement, Discipline, Law, and State Power,” Geography Compass 3, no. 4 (2009): 459–77. 29.  Leland C. Barrows, “Faidherbe and Senegal: A Critical Discussion,” African Studies Review 19, no. 1 (1976): 107. 30.  On the penitentiary schools for young offenders, see Ibrahima Thioub, “Juvenile Marginality and Incarceration during the Colonial Period: The First Penitentiary Schools in Senegal, 1888–1927,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, chapter 4. 31. Bernard Moitt, “Slave and Emancipation in Senegal’s Peanut Basin: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 22, no. 1 (1989): 27. 32. Ravenel: Mission d’inspection sur les prisons au Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, March 1918, ANOM 61COL 3046. 33. Monguillot: Mission d’inspection sur les prisons au Sénégal, Saint-Louis, February 12, 1936, ANS 3F/00110. 34.  James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Heaven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 282. 35.  Schler, “Ambiguous Spaces,” 53. 36. See Alain Sinou, “Les moments fondateurs de quelques villes coloniales,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines 21, no. 81 (1981): 375. 37.  On early fortifications, trading, and defensive posts in Senegal, see Idrissa Fall, “Le role et l’impact des fortifications dans la conquête française du Sénégal pendant

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la seconde moitié du 19th siècle. Le cas du Fort de Thiès” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD); Margaret O. McLane, “Commercial Rivalries and French Policy on the Senegal River, 1831–1853,” African Economic History 15 (1986): 39. 38.  Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure,” 1–55; Burton, Africa, 164–90. 39.  Organization de la police au Sénégal, 1825–1905, ANS 21G 1. 40.  Decree of February 28, 1848, creating a gendarmerie unit in Senegal, ANS 21G1. 41.  Timothy B. Smith, “Assistance and Repression: Rural Exodus, Vagabondage and Social Crisis in France, 1880–1914,” Journal of Social History 32, no. 4 (1999): 824. 42.  Momar Coumba Diop, “L’administration sénégalaise et la gestion des ‘fléaux sociaux.’ L’héritage colonial,” in AOF: réalités et héeritages. Sociétes ouest-africaines et ordre colonial, 1895–1960, eds. Charles Becker, Ibrahima Thioub et Saliou Mbaye (Dakar: Direction des Archives Nationales du Sénégal, 1997), 1139. 43.  Ibid., 1139. 44.  Janet M. Bujra, “Women ‘Entrepeneurs’ in Early Nairobi: Prostitution, Class and the State,” in Crime, Justice, and Underdevelopment, ed. Colin Sumner (London: Heinemann, 1982), 158. See also, Louise White, The Comforts of Home: Prostitution in Colonial Nairobi (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991). 45.  Smith, “Assistance and Repression,” 824. 46.  Diop, “L’administration coloniale,”1128–41. 47.  Patricia O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth Century France (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), 150. 48.  Commandant to M. Froidevaux, Saint-Louis, March 29, 1820, ANS 3B3. 49.  For a study of the prison of Saint-Louis, see Ibra Séne, “Crime, Punishment, and Colonization: A History of the Prison of Saint-Louis and the Development of the Penitentiary System in Senegal, ca. 1830–ca. 1940” (PhD diss., Michigan State University, History, 2010). 50.  On French bagnes, see Jean-Guy Petit, Nicole Castan, and Zysberg, Histoire des bagnes, prisons et colonies pénitentiaires en France de l ancien régime (Toulouse: Privat, 2002) 51. Arrest warrant against Gasconi Biram Diop, Saint-Louis, April 8, 1875, ANOM SEN XIV 15. 52.  Abdoul H. Aidara, Saint-Louis du Sénégal: d hier à aujourd’hui (Paris: Grandvaux), 115–16. 53. Carcassonne: Rapport sur la prison de Dakar, Dakar, February 22, 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 54.  Tournée de Madame De Savineau sur la condition de la femme en AOF durant les années 1930. Report no 18 on Casamance, ANS 17G 381(126). On Denise Marie Savineau, see Ghislaine Lydon, “The Unravelling of a Neglected Source: A Report on Women in Francophone Africa in the 1930s,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines 37, no. 147 (1997): 555–84. 55.  Tournée de Madame De Savineau. Report no. 17 on French Guinea, ANS 17G 381(126).



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56. Moretti: Mission d’inspection sur les prisons en Afrique Occidentale Française, Dakar, August 23, 1939, ANOM 61COL 633. 57. O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment, 258. 58.  Georges C. Griffith, In an Unknown Land Prison Land: An Account on Convicts and Colonists in New Caledonia, with Jotting out of Home (London: Hutchinson, 1901), 83. 59.  Sylvie Villatte, “Etre privé de liberté dans une île aux époques hellénistique et romaine: aspects individuels et collectives, réalité, sentiments et imaginaire,” in Carcer: prison de liberté dans l’antiquité classique, eds. C. Bertrand-Dagenbach et al. (Paris: De Broccard, 1999), 129–31. See also, Clare Anderson, Convicts in the Indian Ocean: Transportation from South Asia to Mauritius, 1815–1853 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000). 60.  Lassalle-Séré: Rapport sur les services pénitentiaires au Sénégal, Saint-Louis, March 14, 1939, ANOM 61 COL633. 61.  The Moretti mission, ANOM 61COL633. 62.  The location of the Ripa Camp, one of the detention camps built the Mau Mau rebellion, is described as a “remote part of Kenya . . . where . . . nothing grew except sand, sand and rocks. Similarly, the Yala camp was characterized by the presence of cactus and other leafless thorny trees,” in Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’O, A Grain of Wheat (London: Heinemann, 1967), 131–32. On the topic of prisons in African fiction, see Charles D. Gondola, “Le cercle de craie: l’enfermement dans le roman africain,” in Enfermement, prisons, et châtiments in Afrique: du 19e siécle à nos jours, ed. Florence Bernault (Paris: Karthala, 1999), 337–64; Baydallaye Kane, “Représentations de La justice répressive dans les romans de Chinua Achébé, Ngûgî Wa Thiong’O et Alex La Guma” (Thèse de Doctorat d’Etat, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Englais, 2002.) 63.  Martin and Mitchelson, “Geographies of Detention,” 459. 64.  On urbanization processes in FWA, see Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Odile Goerg, et al. eds., La ville européenne outré-mer: un modèle conquérant?(XVe-XXe siècles) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996); Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, “The Process of Urbanization in Africa (From the Origins to the Beginning of Independence),” African Studies Review 34, no. 1 (1991): 1–98. 65.  Governor to the Head of the Public Works Service, Dakar, February 26, 1918, ANS 3F/00034. 66. On land disputes in Dakar, see Adam Baytir Diop, “La communauté Lébu face aux développements de la politique coloniale: la question des terrains de Dakar (1887–1958)” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 1995); Ousseynou Faye, “L’urbanisation et les processus sociaux au Sénégal, typologie descriptive et analytique des déviances à Dakar d’après les sources d’archives de 1885 à 1940” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Dakar, Histoire, 1989). 67.  The Carcassonne report on the Dakar prison, 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 68.  Administrator of Casamance to Governor of Senegal, Ziguinchor, November 29, 1938, ANS 3F/00124. 69.  Prisons des cercles. Report on the prison of Kaolack, Kaolack, 1938, ANS 3F/00124.

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70.  Report on the C penal camp in Louga, ANS 3F/00110. 71.  Governor of Senegal to Governor-General of FWA, Dakar, August 25, 1944, ANS 3F/00136. 72.  Winters, “Urban Morphogenesis,” 145. 73.  Ibid., 145. 74.  The Carcassonne Report, ANOM 61COL633, 75. Ibid. 76.  Peter B. Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862–1940 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 55. 77.  According to Odile Goerg, “in Conakry a tirailleur camp built from 1899 to 1902 was moved from lot 3 (next to the government) to the end of the Sixtieth avenue on the waterfront, as was the new lazaret, which was erected at the end of the promontory, beyond the cemeteries” in “Colonial Urbanism and Prisons in Africa: Reflections on Conakry and Freetown, 1903–1960,” in Bernault, A History of Prison, 126. 78.  Kalala Ngulamune, Colonial Pathologies, Environment, and Western Medicine in St-Louis-du-Senegal, 1867–1920 (New York: Peter Lang, 2012). See also, Myron Echenberg, Black Death, White Medicine: Bubonic Plague and the Politics of Public Health in Colonial Senegal, 1914–1945 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002); Elikia M’Boloko,“Peste et société à Dakar: l’épidémie de 1914,” Cahiers d’ Etudes Africaines 22 (1982): 13–46; Philip Curtin, “Medical Knowledge and Urban Planning in Tropical Africa,” American Historical Review 90 (1985): 594–613; Maynard Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome,” 387–410; Cathérine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Processus d’ urbanization en Afrique (2 vols.) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1988); Odile Goerg, Pouvoir Colonial, municipalités et espaces urbaines, Conakry-Freetown des années 1880 à1914, vol. 1: Genése des municipalités (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997). 79. Meredith Turshen, The Political Economy of Disease in Tanzania (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1984); Steve Feierman and John M. Janzen, eds., The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992). 80.  Steve Feierman “Struggles For Control: The Social Roots of Health and Healing in Modern Africa,” African Studies Review 28, no. 2–3 (1985): 121. 81.  Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome.” 82. Harriet Deacon, “Racial Segregation and Medical Discourse in NineteenthCentury Cape Town,” Journal of Southern African Studies 22, no. 2 (1996): 289. 83.  On hill stations in Africa, see Goerg, “From Hill Station,” 594–613. 84.  Kalala Ngalumulume, “Keeping the City Totally Clean: Yellow Fever and the Politics of Prevention in Colonial Saint-Louis-du-Sénégal, 1850–1914,” The Journal of African History 45, no. 2 (2004): 186. On disease and epidemics in colonial Senegal, refer to Maodo Guèye, “Étude des épidémies à Dakar, 1900–1945. Les mesures sanitaires, la prévention et leurs conséquences démographiques” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, 1994). 85.  Report on the judiciary service in Saint-Louis, 1841, Saint-Louis, March 20, 1842, ANOM SEN VIII, 3 Ter a. 86.  Ngalumulume, “Keeping the City,” 188.



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87.  William B. Cohen, “Malaria and French Imperialism,” The Journal of African History 24, no. 1 (1983): 23. 88.  Ibid., 23. 89.  Ibid., 23. 90.  Curtin, “Medical Knowledge.” 91.  Rita C. O’Brien, White Society in Black Africa: The French of Senegal (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1972). 92.  Alain Sinou, “Ideologies and pratiques de l’urbanisme dans le Sénégal colonial” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, EHESS, Paris, 1985): 210. 93.  Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome,” 390 94.  Ngalamulume, “Keeping the City,” 190. 95.  Swanson, “The Sanitation Syndrome,” 388. 96.  Jacques Guy-Petit, Histoire des galères, bagnes et prisons, XII- XXe siècles. Introduction à l’histoire pénale de la France (Toulouse: Privat, 1991), 235. 97.  Governor of Senegal to Colonial Minister, Saint-Louis, February 20, 1830, ANOM SEN VIII, 6 bis a. 98.  Raymond F. Betts, “The Problem of Medina in the Urban Planning of Dakar, Senegal,” Urban African Notes IV (1969): 6–8. On the 1914 plague epidemic in Senegal, refer to M’Bokolo, “Peste et société,” 13–46. 99. Echenberg, Black Death, 69. 100.  Ibid., 118. 101.  Ibid., 95. 102.  Ibid., 93. 103.  Ibid., 94. 104.  Ibid., 190. 105.  Ibid., 190. 106.  Minutes of the meeting of the Surveillance committee of the prison of Dakar, Dakar, April 6, 1916, ANS 3F/00034. 107.  Project of extension of the Dakar prison, Dakar, December 23, 1920, ANS 3F/00034. 108. Echenberg, Black Death, 185. 109.  Ibid., 185. 110.  Report from the Head of the Public Work Service, Saint-Louis, March 17, 1921, ANS 3F/00024. 111.  Senegal’s attorney general to the district attorney of FWA, Dakar, June 24, 1922, ANS 3F00034. 112.  Betts, “The Problem of Medina,” 5–15. 113.  Project on the construction of new prisons in Senegal, ANS 4P859. 114. Governor-general of FWA to administrator of Dakar, Dakar, 1931, ANS 4P851. 115.  The Carcassonne Report, 1939, 10, ANOM 61COL633. 116.  Ibrahima Thioub, “La santé des détenus dans les prisons coloniales,” Revue française d’histoire d’Outre-mer 86, no. 324–25 (1999): 68. 117.  Dakar et Dépendances, rapport annuel, 1934, ANS 2G34-46. 118.  Dakar et Dépendences, rapport annuel, 1943 ANS 2G43-15.

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119. Report on the health of inmates at the B penal camp, Fatick, Janaury 11, 1944, ANS 3F/00124. 120. Ibid. 121.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annuel, 1939, ANS 3F/00118. 122.  The Carcassonne Report, 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 123.  Thioub, “La santé des détenus.” 124.  Hannah, “Space,” 175–76. 125.  Babacar Fall, Le travail forcé en Afrique occidentale française, 1900–1946 (Paris: Karthala, 1993); Ibra Séne, “Colonisation Française et Exploitation de la main d’oeuvre Carcérale au Sénégal: De L’emploi des Détenus des camps pénaux sur les Chantiers des Travaux Routiers,” French Colonial History 5 (2004): 153–71. On convict labor in colonial Africa, refer to Bernault “The Politics of Enclosure,” 22–23; Lauent Fourchard, “Between Conservatism and Transgressions: Everyday Life in the Prisons of Upper Volta, 1920–1960,” in A History of Prison, 138–42. 126.  Carde to all colonial governors and to the administrator of Dakar and Dependences, Dakar, March 3, 1927, ANS 3F/00091. 127. Ibid. 128. Rapport sur l’emploi de la main d’oeuvre indigène en AOF, 1929, ANS 2G36-26. 129.  The Carcassonne Report, 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 130.  Monguillot Mission, ANS 3F/00110. 131. Ibid. 132. Fall, Le travail forcé, 17–18. 133.  Babacar Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral pénal au Sénégal, 1790–1960. Histoire de la punition pénitentiaire coloniale” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Dakar, 2004); Séne, “Colonisation Française.” 134.  Séne, “Colonisation Française,” 164. 135.  The Moretti Mission, 1939, 19, ANOM 61COL633. 136.  Ibid., 20. 137.  Séne, “Colonisation Française,” 164. 138.  Ibid., 164. On the Seréer resistance against the French rule in the Ravin des Voleurs region, see Ousseynou Faye, “Mythe et histoire dans la vie de Kaañ Fay du Cangin (Sénégal),” Cahiers d’ Études Africaines 136, no. 4 (1994): 613–37. 139.  Carcassonne: Report in the Prison and the Penal Camp in Thiès, Thiès, July 25, 1939, 6, ANOM 61COL633. 140.  Séne, “Colonisation Française,” 164. 141.  Report on the prison of Kaolack, ANS 3F/00078. 142.  Thioub, “Juvenile Delinquency.” 143. F. Michel, Inspector of Administrative Affair to Secretary General, SaintLouis, August 22, 1944, ANS 3F/00123. 144. Project to transfer the Kelle penal camp to Mauritania, 1941–1943, ANS 3F/00128. 145.  Report on the Ndande penal camp, 1940, ANS F/00113. 146.  Organization and régime of the penal camps of Kelle, Diourbel, Thiès, and Foudioungne, 1939–1945, ANS 3F/00110.



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147.  Report on the penal camps in Senegal, ANS 3F/00086. 148.  Bâ, “L’enfermement pénal,” 56. 149.  Ibid., 57. 150.  Ibid., 57. 151.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annual, 1933, ANS 3F/00136. 152. Inspector of Administrative affairs to governor, Saint-Louis, November 5, 1927, ANS 3F/00095. 153.  Moretti Mission, 18–20, ANOM 61COL633. 154.  The Carcassonne Report, ANOM 61COL633. 155.  Administrator of the circumscription of Dakar and dependencies to governor of Senegal, Dakar, January 1933, ANS, 3F/00100. 156.  The Carcassonne Report, ANOM 61COL633. 157. Administrator of Ziguinchor to the administrator superior of Casamance, Ziguinchor, July 7, 1936, ANS 3F/00100. 158.  Administrator of Ziguinchor to the governor of Senegal, Ziguinchor, July 8, 1936, ANS, 3F/00100. 159.  Dennis D. Cordell and Joel W. Gregory, “Labor Reservoirs and Population: French Colonial Strategies in Koudougou, Upper Volta, 1914 to 1939,” The Journal of African History 23 (1982): 213. In the French prestation system, each village was assessed a certain number of person-days per year to be provided free to the colonial administration.

Part II

PRISON ARCHITECTURE AND PENAL EXPERIENCE

Chapter 3

The Architecture of Repression Prison Buildings and Designs in Senegal (1833–1946)

When Mr. Manche came to Senegal in 1819, two years after France took over the territory, as Procureur du Roi charged with the mission of assessing the existing judiciary service, he found some detention facilities of very small size but no real prisons whatsoever. Meanwhile, his visit paved the way for the creation of the first prisons. In 1820, a former commercial warehouse was designated as Saint-Louis’s first prison. The same year, a rented house became the geôle of Gorée. Almost a half-century later, the French constructed the first prison building in Senegal, the 1863 Saint-Louis prison that marked a turning point in the architecture of colonial prisons. First labeled as the bagne of Saint-Louis, the prison became by 1875 a house of arrest and its nomenclature kept changing according to changing imprisonment policies. The warehouse/prison of Saint-Louis, the house/geôle of Gorée, and the 1863 bagne/prison of Saint-Louis, through their structures and the ways in which they became prisons, were the embodiment of prison architecture in French Senegal while articulating the fragmented nature of French colonial penal architectural ideologies and policies. They also suggested and established a precedent for the prisons that followed.1 What prison architecture communicates about punishment in French Senegal is the focus of this chapter: in other words, the forms and models of prison architecture the French used to convey punishment policies and ideologies in colonial Senegal. The significance of prison architecture is central to the discussion about punishment itself, whether prison architecture is for the organization of inmates’ lives, discipline, or inmate rehabilitation. Like other colonial institutions, prisons were shaped by the development and evolution of specific architectural styles born with and accompanying colonization, and therefore they chronicle a chapter of Senegal’s architectural history. 123

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The debate about the rationales of punishment appears to have no endpoint. Although deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, and retribution2 are recognized as the main functions of punishment (namely imprisonment), debates on how these functions do or do not render punishment effective had raged across disciplines over the years. A flurry of theories of deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation, and retribution have been tried, questioned, dismissed, and then resuscitated to evaluate the dimensions, effectiveness, and complexity of imprisonment. Take for instance, rehabilitation. In recent decades, scholars of prisons have emphasized the failure of rehabilitation, or, as some put it, the “decline of the rehabilitation ideal,”3 which has turned prisons into dumping grounds for offenders while shifting the focus from rehabilitation to deterrence and incapacitation. For instance, David Rothman argues that “the distaste of rehabilitation has also contributed to making prisons into human warehouses.”4 Despite these criticisms, rehabilitation remains entwined with punishment. Yet, of the discussions about the purposes of punishment and its effectiveness, one fundamental question was how the rationales of punishment translated into architecture or how architecture, in this case prison architecture, evoked the functions of punishment. That interest in architecture and punishment has yielded a rich literature that, beyond doubt, has expanded the discussion about the value or failure of prisons in disciplining prisoners.5 This chapter raises fundamental questions about the ways in which punishment was translated into punitive architectural forms and designs and how in the process they evolved over time. What were the ideologies and practices behind the development of prison architecture in colonial Senegal? This chapter argues that the architecture of prisons in French Senegal conveyed meanings about imprisonment and colonial power in Senegal. The meanings embedded in it were of repression, proved by horrible living conditions in poorly designed and built prisons and dilapidated facilities. The violence inherent in the colonial prison is most obvious in its forms, which emphasized repression at all levels. This architecture of repression is apparent from a detailed analysis of the typology of prison buildings, their designs, and the politics of prison design and construction. Throughout the colonial period, prisons remained an unremarkable part of Senegal architecture, thus telling much about colonialism, punishment, and architecture and pushing us to rethink colonial architecture in Africa in a much broader context. THE TYPOLOGY OF COLONIAL PRISONS: A PLURALITY OF PENAL BUILDINGS Understanding the physicality of a building is very important. Gwendolyn Wright reminds us that “anyone working on built environments should



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learn about the fundamental visual and verbal languages of architecture.”6 In French Senegal, prisons included a plurality of buildings whose visual language remains one of austerity and dilapidation, which unveiled the processes governing their architectural production. Penal buildings were different from one area to the next and derived from a variety of sources. However, the early prisons of Saint-Louis and Gorée set the tone for the typology of colonial prisons in Senegal. They were the resurgence of an architecture that represented the colonization of the territory by the French and that was spawned by conquest, defense, security, and trading activities. Originating in an old commercial warehouse, Saint-Louis’s first prison was established in 1820 after the French compensated the owner and fixed the site.7 Gorée’s prisons have a similar history. In 1820, a rented house was converted into the geôle of Gorée. A half-century later, in 1876, a converted military compound was designated as Gorée’s second prison. In the process of opening a second prison in Gorée, the authorities also made recommendations to replace the prison at Dakar, which at that time was part of Gorée. The prison at Dakar was set in the backyard of the battery on the Pointe de Dakar (Dakar Point).8 Dakar, considered the future of the colony, welcomed a new prison in 1866.9 Because the military barracks and fortresses built during the conquest dictated the architecture of “discipline and severity,”10 they were embraced as ideal makeshift prisons. As discussed later, the warehouse/prison of SaintLouis, the rented house/gêole of Gorée, and the battery/prison of Dakar stood in sharp contrast to the 1863 Saint-Louis prison with their converted formal structures that altered their physical definition as prisons. Several prisons were established during the second half of the nineteenth century, making the facilities ubiquitous in Senegal by the end of French rule. In 1863, the French designed and erected the first prison building in Senegal, marking the first major development in the architecture of colonial prisons. It was hoped that its construction would mark the beginning of a new era of prison construction. Yet, as prison populations increased, the French continued recycling and restoring the architecture of their early presence, even using a building dedicated to religious activities to respond to inmate housing needs. In 1888, they chose the convent of the Catholic Mission at Thiès to house the first penitentiary school for young offenders. Their decision was driven by the rigorous and sober architecture of the institution and its distance from rapidly growing cities such as Dakar; isolation deemed necessary for the rehabilitation of minor offenders who were given both punishment and religious education. The recycling of religious and military edifices into prison buildings in colonial Senegal followed a long-time practice rooted in France.11 As prisons spread and their populations increased, options for housing prisoners widened. In some inland provinces, prisons were indistinguishable, except by their designation as such, from domestic architectures, revealing a noticeable lack

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of appropriate penal facilities. Prisons were modeled on local dwellings, as they were built in the same manner and with the same materials. For instance, at Jorbivol in northern Senegal, until 1908, the designated prison “was a thatched rounded mud hut—or sudu bulunge in Tukulor.”12 Around the same time, the prison in Saldé, a neighboring province, was built in the same fashion, except that it was not rounded.13 These regions’ inhabitants lived in similar dwellings.14 Unlike the aforesaid buildings, these facilities did not draw on any standards of prison construction; they represented anything but prisons. In the town of Nioro, in the cercle of Sine Saloum, the French designated the former blokhane or réduit15 as a prison in 1909.16 Nine years later, when colonial inspector Revel visited Nioro, he found ten men still confined there.17 Practical concerns dictated the selection of the réduit. The French built the fortification during their military conquest of the region. Under the leadership of Maba Diakhou Bâ, Nioro was one of the bastions of France resistance. By 1909, the French had defeated most armed resistances, including Nioro, and so they converted into a prison the same facility to help them annex the town, thus embracing its defensive and protective value. In other localities, prisons were integrated with other structures, attached or affiliated to them for maximum exposure. From Dagana, a French enclave along the Senegal River, to Sédhiou in southern Senegal, to Niani Ouli, a province in eastern Senegal, the prison was either “a building set inside the military camp,”18 a facility “located nearby the résidence (home of the French resident),”19 or built in “the courtyard of the military post.”20 This practice, to build prisons close to administrative, military, and other practical buildings meant to enhance the French authority, continued up until the mid-twentieth century. In 1927, a grass hut served as a prison in the province of Oussouye; a section of the military camp, the prison was located a few feet from the residence.21 That year, Meyer, commandant of Bignona, a town close to Oussouye, called for the construction of a better prison because the existing one was a police station.22 In other places, inmates were confined wherever space existed. In 1909 in Hamdallahi, a town in eastern Senegal, male inmates slept inside a shed but were later moved to empty horse stalls when their number increased, while women were confined in a shed set inside the military camp.23 In Balantacounda, in the cercle of Sédhiou, horse stalls were home to prisoners until 1909. The same was true for one-half the inmates at the Diourbel prison, who slept in horse stalls in 1924 due to lack of space.24 Three years later, thirty inmates were allowed to spend the day outdoors because the stockroom that served as a prison was too small to accommodate its 180 residents.25 The use of horse stalls as prisons had its explanation of how the French characterized the prisoner in Senegal: he was no better than a horse and should be housed the same and given the same diet.



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Built near road construction sites, penal camps were torn down and rebuilt every time a site opened or closed. They were modest and temporary shelters, continually falling apart and needing to be repaired, for most of them were built on the spot and made of materials at hand. Their buildings, being provisional, were the only no-longer surviving structures of the colonial prisons. Prisons also incorporated non-penal facilities that were used as temporary or permanent detention places. In 1924, Dakar’s general attorney ordered the incarceration of N’darigo, a female European inmate, in a facility outside the Dakar prison.26 This practice was widespread. In 1936, Houette Abdou Aly, a Syrian serving a two-month prison term, was confined in a warehouse owned by the Société de Prévoyance.27 Later, Remy, then-commandant of Kaolack requested his transfer to either the prison of Saint-Louis or the prison of Dakar because the warehouse was to be converted into a lazaretto. Other circumstances also compelled prison directors to resort to facilities other than prisons. In 1925, Michelon, director of the prison at Kédougou, resettled inmates in a building occupied previously by l’Agence Spéciale, an agency that aided farmers, after a fire destroyed the prison.28 In 1936, twenty-six inmates at the Dakar prison spent many nights at the Médina police station just around the corner due to overcrowding. Similarly, in 1938, the director of the prison at Diourbel moved all female prisoners to a shed inside the military camp to accommodate a growing population of men. Finally, in 1941 the ambulance de Gorée, a former colonial army building that housed prostitutes and nonSenegalese prisoners, closed its doors. But space, race, and gender governed these decisions that point to various features of the architecture of colonial prisons in this chapter. Most of the evidence concerning efforts to build new prisons dates from 1909 and later. That year, the colonial administration completed a report on the morphologies of prisons that emphasized their various sources and nonpenal features. New styles became a reality in 1922 when the administration incorporated its findings into a new architectural model labeled as a “classic model.” Then, in 1924, Villeneuve, inspector of administrative affairs, authored another report on Senegalese prisons. He identified their dysfunctionality and irregularities in their spatial organization and proposed some solutions.29 These findings precipitated construction of a new prison in Dakar in 1924 that embodied the classic prison model, thereby marking another ground-breaking shift in the architecture of prisons in French Senegal. Like the 1863 Saint-Louis prison, the 1924 Dakar prison was not duplicated on a large scale, but it remained a source of inspiration for prisons built up until the early 1940s, a period that witnessed the last prison construction projects. Colonial prisons in Senegal displayed architectural forms that were anchored around existing multiple-purpose architecture of military, commercial,

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and religious origins, around metropolitan-inspired designs and models, and a locally inspired architecture. Prison edifices did not conform to one another. From the various sources to the varied sizes, the buildings point to inconsistent styles, showcasing regional differences that related to building techniques, materials, and traditions, prevailing architectures, housing needs for inmates, and the size of prison populations. Before and after 1924, many prison buildings lost most of their common and unifying features as prisons. But their physicality was different from what appeared on the maps, plans, and drawings. READING DESIGNS: THE COLONIAL PRISON AS ARCHITECTURE Looking at colonial cities in Senegal, Alain Sinou argues that prisons were the types of civil edifices that needed no “architectural marking.”30 This implies that colonial authorities did not see any reason to provide prisons with specific architectures. This might be true if one considers their originality. But the analysis of prison designs supports a much different argument. Also, Sinou focused on colonial cities and their most practical buildings, not necessarily prisons, which he touched on slightly in his study. The focus here is only about colonial prisons, their architecture, and construction. In his analysis of architecture and its interpretation, Juan Pablo Bonta argues “there should be a history of meaning, not only of forms.”31 This to say that the history of prison architecture and punishment in French Senegal cannot be derived from a formal analysis of only prison designs; it must be extracted from the way in which that architecture was produced and what it meant. Colonial prisons in Senegal were represented in drawings and plans that reflect what imprisonment meant for the French colonial enterprise. In Senegal and elsewhere in French colonial Africa, “the prison building came to symbolize solidity, permanence, and authority of colonial powers,”32 down to the expressive power of its architecture, which was intended to be fearprovoking on the outside and repressive on the inside. The study of prison architecture in Senegal must be not only about power and knowledge but also about power, places, and ideology, a connection idea well-articulated by Kim Dovey. Indeed, Dovey reminds us that “the value of architectural practice is revealed in the everyday experience of the place it creates, constrained as they may be by the imperatives of ideology and power.”33 Similarly, in his study of town halls in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, historian Robert Tittler shows the connection between architecture and power. He writes that “the hall seemed to show how a particular building type could represent such tangible concepts as power, authority, and legitimacy within the com-



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munity.”34 Thus, architecture becomes a language and a metaphor through which one can read the desires of the French to repress inmates and express their domination. To be understood, any language must be decoded. Thomas Markus draws a parallel between architecture and language, arguing that a building is a like a narrative. According to Markus, “from the moment it is conceived, through its design, production, use, continuous reconstruction in response to changing use, until its final demolition, a building is a developing story, traces of which are always present.”35 Prison buildings in colonial Senegal developed stories that can be read in their designs and how they came to be articulated. This section centers on how their designs shed light on French penal ideologies and policies. In comparing the designs of colonial prisons, we start with the very first prisons. It is understandable that their forms are basic knowledge of later prisons, although it would be easy to overestimate their importance in this respect. Early prisons architecturally were very simple and differed from the telephone pole or circular designs of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century metropolitan French prisons. They presented no pattern of penal architecture, and this lack of originality posited that they could not be “admitted as an ingredient of contemporary prison architecture.”36 These features stemmed from the fact that the buildings were not primarily intended for incarceration. And then when they became prisons, they were hardly recognizable as such. Despite that, the first prisons suggested what imprisonment at the time. The earliest available drawings indicate Gorée’s prisons as among French Senegal’s very first prisons. They were representations of buildings transformed not to look like prisons, but to mimic them. The first plan (Figure 3.1) is dated 1833; some thirteen years after the island’s authorities converted Mrs. Bouët’s rental house into a prison. It showed only what the designer thought was important—a front elevation of the building; no inmates are visible. Simple as this sketch is, it tells a lot about the building. It reflects the realities of a makeshift prison. It discloses the domestic look of a building featuring a house with two doors and two windows on its long side, which may signal that the prison was a one-storied structure with a ground floor where inmates were kept and a floor above for offices, a style typical of houses in Gorée. These features suggest that the prison might have its antecedent in the slave castles or captivity houses, a hypothesis that simply is not supported by other evidence. But the likelihood was epitomized by Mark Hinchman’s argument about the adaptiveness of Gorée’s houses. He observed that “the flexibility to respond to changing conditions was an important aspect of Goréen houses.”37 The plan displayed a temporary prison, evidenced by the site of a new prison to be added to or built inside the caserne (military barrack).

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Figure 3.1.  A plan elevation of Gorée’s first prison in 1833 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Interestingly, the Bouët house-prison was sited next to or across from the caserne (military barrack), a convenient location for the island authorities who espoused the economic benefit of using soldiers manning the caserne as prison guards and the spatial benefit of integrating the prison with other public buildings. This was the reason that when in 1842, after the authorities



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Figure 3.2.  A ground plan of Gorée’s second prison in 1886 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

voted unanimously to break the lease (citing high rental fees) and then realized that not all houses in the island were suited for a prison, they not only renewed the lease but also extended the rental lease on the house.38 In 1865, there was a discussion about the fact that “the building that served as the prison was no longer appropriate for such service and the lease signed with Mrs. Boüet, the owner, was about to expire.”39 It was hoped that now, at least, Gorée might receive a new prison. A lack of funds delayed the opening of the new prison, which finally occurred in 1876 when Delareau, the interior director, penned a letter to his superior insisting that: “the house that served as prison is too small to accommodate all inmates, and like most houses in the island, it’s airless.”40 These issues prompted the authorities later that year to approve the conversion of the headquarters of the caserne into Gorée’s second prison (Figure 3.2). Exposing the interior configuration of the prison in 1886, ten years after its opening, the plan depicted a building infused with prison elements. All available space was utilized to meet the peculiar needs of inmates, and military practice was its inspiration. The prison consisted of two sections separated by a ramp: a military section consisting of a military prison and a room for guards (corps de garde), and a civil section comprised of small separate prisons for male and female debtors, male and female galériens (slaves and captives), correctional prisons for both sexes, and the home of the concierge (prison director). The civil section was nothing else than the site of the new prison highlighted in the 1833 plan. Separated by large cloisters, these so-called prisons opened onto galleries. The plan also displayed a horizontal arrangement that indicated the presence of “prisons within a prison,” the term prison being used to name the institution as well as the penal quarters. This configuration, which may suggest early efforts to classify and separate prisoners, was in conformity with the 1841 Prison Act, which formally instituted a prison regime in Senegal. The first seven articles of the Prison Act classified prisons and categorized offenders and inmates. They established that “prisons in the colony are divided

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into military prison (army and navy soldiers), civil prison (debtors), maison d’arrêt or house of arrest (offenders awaiting trial), maison de justice (indicted offenders), and maison de peines (condemned offenders).”41 Inmates serving correctional sentences (terms of five months to five years or fines) would be confined in the maison de peine but in separate quarters. As a result of this classification, Gorée’s second prison was a multifunction institution that accommodated different categories of inmates to whom a common treatment was applied. For most of them, that was the real punishment. One of the most interesting readings of the plan reveals that imprisonment was not a sentence but a sanction used on a limited scale against people waiting for trial and debtors. Another reading suggests that the earliest prisons were mostly places of correction for both sexes. The drawings of Gorée’s prisons indicate that the first prisons in Senegal were very much of their own time; they were small, originated from multipurpose buildings, and contained only necessities. Their architectural emptiness prevents the scholar from reading the plans as true prison designs because they show concern with space, not forms. Meanwhile, they set the precedent to integrate or attach prisons to other public buildings. None was comparable in scale to the 1863 Saint-Louis prison and there is a lot that set it apart from many prisons. The French built one of Senegal’s largest and most important prisons, the second prison of Saint-Louis, which opened in 1863. The new prison provides a tangible symbol of an innovative approach to imprisonment from that date onward. Embodying novel ideas and images of punishment, its architecture emphasized imprisonment in the colonial sense of the word. Its architecture also personified the architecture of repression, from its eyecatching and frightening physicality, to its early designation as a bagne which emphasized the severity of sentences, mainly hard labor, and its solidity as Senegal’s oldest-standing prison, establishing its temporal permanence beyond doubt to name, a few of its features. The first available plan (Figure 3.3) was not quite readable. Nevertheless, it presents glimpses of the prison’s earliest days, showing signs of a different prison layout. A groundbreaking model, the architectural expression that the 1863 Saint-Louis prison represented was diametrically opposed to Gorée’s prisons. Its rectangular structure demonstrates a more spatial development that located this form within the vocabulary of modern architecture. This design was instrumental in solidifying in architectural forms the French’s ideas about punishment in Africa. French views of Africans dictated they believed prisons ought to look: places where imprisonment should be as repressive as possible and fully experienced. So, the SaintLouis prison was a rectangular prison that provided the openness of space



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Figure. 3.3.  A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1872 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

needed to levy imprisonment, which was reflected in the internal configuration that consisted of a rectangular arrangement of quarters to make control and surveillance easier and access-restricted. The rectangular shape also orchestrated other aspects of life behind bars. The inmates’ wards, also rectangular, were divided into groups of unconnected cells, cell blocks, and larger dormitories to separate and classify inmates while leaving room for larger prison populations in the future. Cells and cell blocks were built back-to-back and dormitories in rows, so any chance of communication between inmates seemed to be eliminated. Likewise, the rectangular shape limited the pattern of access of inmates with a neat division of penal wards and administrative buildings, a reflection of the need to keep punishment and administration separated. It also dictated the placement of kitchens and food storage as close as possible to the penal wards, which underscored keeping prisoners in their own spaces. This layout, however, did not preclude the occasional use of non-penal quarters by inmates. Health considerations also governed the rectangular shape of the prison. Its unknown designer(s) bore in mind the exiguity and poor ventilation of Gorée’s prisons. The wards for inmates opened onto vast courtyards for maximum aeration, and beyond the back wall of the prison was the Senegal River. The attention to aeration and ventilation usual in buildings in French colonies

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Figure 3.4.  A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1886 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales to Sénégal

was also adopted, by taking advantage of the river’s breezes to alleviate the heat. Thus, the prison’s sitting and orientation responded to concerns regarding spread of disease in Saint-Louis, a city known to have experienced deadly tropical diseases as discussed in the second chapter. The second available plan (Figure 3.4), produced in 1886, over a decade after the prison opened, showed more clearly how imprisonment was imposed through organization and representation. The plan indicated that imprisonment as punishment was levied on all demographic groups in Senegal without distinction but was experienced differently. The plan articulates this spatially and architecturally: because they were smaller groups, minor offenders and adult female prisoners were confined in smaller spaces, while men, due to their larger number, were incarcerated in larger spaces. No debtors were present, revealing a quasi-disappearance of these criminal categories. But the internal layout suggests the presence of military and marine inmates, incarcerated in cell blocks that were arranged in such a way to replace the back wall of the prison (Figure 3.4). This layout seemed to reflect a fear of mutiny from these types of inmates who were usually sentenced for disciplinary infractions and singled out for causing trouble behind bars. The presence of the military inmates, however, contradicts the categori-



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zation of the Saint-Louis prison as a civil prison, which according to the 1841 Prison Act was designated for debtors who did not flee. Furthermore, new classifications reflected social divisions and groups with categories such as civilians, military, and indigénes (natives). Although it was a civil prison, the Saint-Louis prison, like Gorée’s second prison, was a multi-function prison. Its architecture revealed a shift in punishment ideas: the colonial prison was a place of punishment. Nonetheless, it showed no concern for the rehabilitation of inmates, despite the promulgation of a decree in May 1882 that stipulated the creation of workshops and agricultural projects in the prisons of Senegal, to occupy inmates who lived in a state of total inactivity. The power bestowed on the régisseur, or prison director, was reflected architecturally by the incorporation of his residence inside the prison, which underscores a permanent presence of authority through his person. Overlooking Adamson Street (named after the famous French scientist), the house of the régisseur or warden and the administration building (offices) were arranged in such a way as to form the façade. The centerpiece of the prison, the façade extended the reality of imprisonment from the inside to the outside. It fronted the Seeku Ber, an open space where executions were overtly held as early as 1898. Imprisonment was better emphasized by the presence of the juge d’instruction (sentencing judge) whose office was placed next to the régisseur’s home, thus conveying an everlasting authority. In the French justice system, the juge d’instruction oversees investigation in the most serious and complex offenses. The process is known as the judicial investigation or information judiciaire. Imprisonment was even carved out in the gate of the prison with its creation date printed in it (Figures 3.5 and 3.6). The major feature of the façade, the gate was centrally located to emphasize its severity. As Milne suggests, the exterior façades of public buildings often exude a particular sense of strength, stability, and dignity, thus presenting an image of enduring and legitimate state power. Imprisonment expressed its physicality with elevated barbed walls that isolated inmates from the outside world and prevent escape (Figure 3.6). This physicality was an antithesis to the house and caserne look of Gorée’s prisons. The Saint-Louis prison was an apotheosis of prison monumentality in colonial Senegal, which sets it apart from prisons created before and after. It was built to be repressive on the inside and impressive on the outside, features that make it unique. Its physicality represented a new stage in colonial penal thoughts: prisons were meant to be seen. The monument-like form of the prison was associated with the monumental architecture used by the French in Saint-Louis from the 1860s onward. Founded as a trading and military post, and subsequently developed as a

Figure 3.5.  Façade of the Saint-Louis prison, 2013 Courtesy of the author. Picture was taken and reproduced with permission from the DAP.

Figure 3.6.  A side view of the Saint-Louis prison, 2013 Courtesy of the author. Picture was taken and reproduced with permission from the DAP.



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center of French commerce and government with a large concentration of European populations, Saint-Louis was regarded as an extension of France in Africa, and its architecture reflected this conception. Thus, the prison came to represent dramatic changes taking place in Saint-Louis in the 1860s, and its architecture was also a product of the architectural boom that the city witnessed during that time. The prison is an icon that signified Governor Faidherbe’s second tenure and his efforts to transform Saint-Louis into a modern city. The tenure was notable for a boom in construction in Saint-Louis as the French funded massive building projects and public services to ameliorate a lack of infrastructure. Although the prison was a groundbreaking model, its architectural monumentality was not a prototype for subsequent prisons or duplicated on a large scale. However, its rectangular form became a prevalent feature of most prisons that were built later. Moreover, its rectangular spatial framework became a basic metaphor for controlling inmates and organizing the internal layout of most subsequent prisons. Opened in 1866 shortly after the Saint-Louis prison, Dakar’s second prison emulated it. Classified as a civil prison, it was also enclosed in a rectangular shape, reinforcing the appeal of this form as an essential element in controlling inmates. The first available plan (Figure 3.7), a sketch of the institution

Figure 3.7.  A ground plan of the Dakar prison in 1872 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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Figure 3.8.  A ground plan of the Dakar prison in 1915 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

in 1872, revealed a prison comprised of five major buildings individually identified by alphabetic order (but in reality, connected) and an empty space that contained hay for the military camp. Another sketch (Figure 3.8), produced in 1915, shows that while the Dakar prison’s internal layout was different from that of 1863 Saint-Louis prison, its underlying mission and conception were not. Built on a smaller plot in the densely white neighborhood of the Plateau in the heart of the city, the Dakar prison was a reinforcement of the idea that prisons were meant to punish. Although the wards for inmates were rectangular and opened onto wide courtyards, they were grouped on one side to form an enclosure for privacy and convenience. The wards also were surrounded by patrol corridors, thus indicating a new pattern of control and surveillance of inmates. The prison also replicated the incorporation of the régisseur’s house but increased this authoritative presence by integrating the home of the heard of the prison guards as well, a pattern that indicated considerations of added protection. But



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Figure 3.9.  A ground plan of the Saint-Louis prison in 1917 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

evidence shows that prisons in the early twentieth century (Figures 3.8 and 3.9) displayed significant changes in the internal space that exuded considerations for more security, control, and activities for prisoners. For instance, in 1917, at the Saint-Louis prison (Figure 3.9) new measures were taken to reduce opportunities for escape. Any open spaces around the administration building and the régisseur’s house that invited escape were closed. The original arrangement was also changed to reduce contact between inmates: a large space between the two blocks of penal wards was designated as a chemin de ronde or covered way that emphasized greater control and surveillance. Gardens were created around and between the administration building, the régisseur’s house, and the penal wards. Most of the fresh produce from these gardens, worked by inmates, found its way to their kitchens. The establishment of the gardens followed a May 1882 decree that stipulated the creation of workshops and agricultural projects to give inmates some skills. With the garden labor, the vocational element has practically disappeared. The upper floor of the administration building and the régisseur’s residence even became places to observe and control inmates working in the gardens. The changes were also driven in large part by the need for better accommodating European prisoners. Although rectangular buildings continued to be

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used, the plans of the early twentieth-century prisons indicated new layouts still divided the sexes but also underscored steps taken to segregate Europeans from Africans. As Lindsay Prior argues, “a building expresses discourse.” According to Prior, “not only we can read off discourse themes from architectural plans, but we can also follow changes in discursive régimes through the transformation of such plans.”42 By the late 1910s, racial segregation had deeply permeated prisons in Senegal and was even more marked there than in the cities. Imprisonment brought Africans and Europeans together in the same prisons, but the buildings’ architecture kept them apart. The colonial prison represented in microcosm the French colonial society. Therefore, European inmates’ necessities were made a pretext for separating them from African inmates. From their size, number, occupancy capacity, and surface area to their division into cells and dormitories, the wards for inmates were broadly different to accommodate Europeans and natives. In their correspondence and statements, prison officials often referred to the quarters designated for natives as just locaux (premises or rooms). When they used the word “cell(s),” they adjoined it to the word “Europeans.” Put differently, in the world of colonial prisons in Senegal, the word “cell” remained synonymous with Europeans and the word locaux with Africans. Although the ratio of Europeans to Africans was low, Europeans were housed in spacious and airy cells, while Africans were crowded as many as forty to fifty in small dormitories. This racialized prison architecture reflected varying degrees of control and punishment (Figures 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9). In addition, there was even a degree of punishment based on class. Among inmates in the early nineteenth century, there was a division of space based on social class. For instance, the plan shows the presence in prisons of Tirailleurs sénégalais, who assisted the French in the military conquest of the colony. Despite having run afoul of the law, they were confined together around European inmates but isolated from native inmates. French rule in Senegal expressed itself through its prisons. In 1906, the French projected the construction of a 250-inmate maison centrale (central house) in the cercle of Thiès (Figure 3.10), in which all prisoners in the colony were to be subjected to a well-regulated system of discipline. The large number of criminal cases prosecuted by the courts, the unfitness of existing prisons to contain a growing prison population, and the subsequent security and discipline concerns provided justification for this project. But a unique feature of the Thiès prison was its design. The architects who designed the prison were armed with practical lessons about prison construction learned in France. The prison had more in common with panoptical prisons built in France and across Europe from the 1840s onward. If the elements of this design are not new, their location is. As a colonial prison, the Thiès prison was designed in a much different architectural context. It was planned



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with discipline, selective rehabilitation of inmates, security, and cultural values as ruling goals and considerations. Emphasizing the change toward the design of metropolitan prisons and away from the rectangular shape of preceding prisons, it was modern in conception, as the “functionality of design and the aesthetic of pure geometric forms were brilliantly merged.”43 The Thiès prison emulated European panoptical prisons that derived from the Panopticon or the Inspection House, a model designed by British reformer Jeremy Bentham. Although it “was never erected in Britain,”44 the Panopticon, “one of the curiosities of prison history,”45 emphasized the power of architecture, and its suggested function for better disciplining and rehabilitating inmates has been echoed by others. As Janet Semple put it nicely, for Bentham, the Panopticon was “a living entity, an artificial body, the inspection lodge its heart, its passageways its nerves and arteries.”46 His ruling concern in designing it was “how could human behaviour, and through behaviour the human condition as a whole, be controlled and made certain by design?”47 But more significantly for Bentham, the Panopticon was a “way of obtaining power, power of mind over body, in quantity hitherto without example,”48 a reason why he described it as “a mill for grinding rogues honest.”49 No doubt to some degree Robin Evans criticized it as “more a contraption than a building.”50 Michel Foucault had put the point more emphatically a few years earlier, describing the Panopticon as a “cruel ingenious cage”51 that was “to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power.”52 But the Panopticon’s main feature was the “practice of omniscience and omnipotence”53 though the person of the governor (keeper), a practice that would “keep inmates prisoners under constant observation and protect the wardens by keeping them separate from the inmates.”54 Via these features, the proposed 1906 Thiès prison signaled the onset of a new architectural approach to punishment in the early twentieth century, and unlike its predecessors, it deserves the label of prison architecture revolution, showing that, for African colonial prisons, forms did matter. The panopticon connection to the Thiès prison was evident in its form. Its overall plan reveals a considered handling of space. The rectangular shape was abandoned for a semi-polygonal pattern shot through a series of separated pavilions. Looked at as a whole, the Thiès prison was designed with a principle of “central observation.”55 Instead of a full circle, the 7-wing structure was shaped in a semi-circle with a diameter of 140 meters. Its layout consisted of a rotunda from which radiated the seven wings that gave the structure a panoptical soul. The rotunda contained a water supply, an observatory house, an administration building, the guard’s residence, a kitchen, and storage areas. Although the Thiès prison was western in character, infused with a desire to bring “surveillance to new perfection,”56 it was not

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Figure 3.10.  A ground plan of the proposed Thiès panoptical prison, 1906 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

fully faithful to the style of its metropolitan-inspired models. The allocation of space and the arrangement of the different wings reflected a social order that enhanced gender and racial differences, giving the structure a colonial orientation. The pavilions are positioned differently. Standing in the middle was the cellular pavilion (Figure 3.13) flanked on the right side by a dormitory and a women’s pavilion (Figure 3.12) and on the left by an infirmary and a pavilion for Europeans (Figure 3.11). Two reserved zones formed the end sides of the prison, suggesting an expansion of the prison in the future. This arrangement was convenient because the line of demarcation between Africans and Europeans was distinct. Furthermore, the seven wings were designed as similar in size but not in appearance. Although each was 53.15 × 22.16 meters space, they did not have common features. The pavilions for Europeans (Figure 3.11) and women (Figure 3.12) had solid internal partitions that expressed the goal of controlling movements and activities. Access to the women’s pavilion (Figure 3.12) was through a single entrance flanked by a warden room on each side. A interior corridor gave access to workrooms and cell block units and articulated inmates and work. Only three cells were designated for the isolation of recalcitrant prisoners.

Figure 3.11.  Ground and elevation plans of the European pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Figure 3.12.  A ground plan of the women’s pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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Figure 3.13.  A ground plan of the cellular pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Instead of solitary cells as its namesake might suggest, the cellular pavilion (Figures 3.13) was a cell block with two rows of cells that looked upon an interior central corridor with toilets at the end of the cell block. Its entrance, like those of the other pavilions, was flanked with warden rooms. Not reserved for any specific demographic group, the 70 × 40 meters building was the largest of all the pavilions, thus suggesting it was to hold a large number of inmates and probably the most dangerous ones. The Thiès prison was marked by orderliness. The internal configuration of the pavilions was governed by the ideals of military discipline, with rows of lits de camps (camp beds) aligned along the cell walls and no separation of the occupants. Outer windows barred with iron rods and higher windows that also provided proper light and ventilation furnished security. The overwhelming concern for security was also expressed in the three-meter-high wall that was supposed to enclose the prison, thus forming an escape-proof, social control device. The front elevations of the pavilions added to their distinctive appearances. Windowless, the European pavilion (Figure 3.11) had French doors, suggesting that they would stay open for maximum aeration and lighting. The front of the cellular pavilion (Figure 3.13) showed an entrance flanked by two barred and molding-framed windows and higher windows. In contrast, the proposed front entrance of the women’s pavilion (Figure 3.12) was articulated by two aligned portals each flanked two by barred windows, a wider barred window, and pilasters. The design of the Thiès prison provides insights into the cultural dimensions structuring the use of penal spaces in French Senegal. S. Low reminds



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Figure 3.14.  Front elevation of the cellular pavilion, Thiès panoptical prison, 1906 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

us that design is “a culture-making process in which ideas, values, norms, and beliefs are spatially and symbolically expressed in the environment to create new cultural forms and meanings.”57 For instance, only the pavilion for Europeans (Figure 3.11) was ringed with a mess hall, an arrangement that articulated their table manners and eating habits. Meanwhile, attention was granted to the well-being of inmates, from cement-framed camp beds to the designation of an entire wing as an infirmary to care for sick prisoners. On the other side, the prison was marked by cleanliness. Instead of the bucket system prevailing in the majority of prisons, the Thiès prison incorporated toilets, baths, and wash basins all supplied with water by a cistern set in the rotunda, thus embodying the ideals of hygiene so valued by the French in their colonies. The creation of ateliers or workrooms formed the central core of the rehabilitative treatment. But they were installed only in the pavilions for women and Europeans. The plan afforded no opportunity of reformation to other inmates. By selectively giving these categories of inmates the chance of vocational training, the French had narrowed the sphere of rehabilitation. For one

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thing, the Thiès prison was itself a symbol of the “culture of confinement”58 in French Senegal, despite embodying some basic principles gained in prison reform discussions in nineteenth-century Europe and North America. Thus, the changes that were made in the interests of prison reform implied a rethinking of the function of panoptical prisons in the colonies. Although the vision was clear, the prison was never built; as discussed later, it was hampered by budgetary concerns. The 1906 Thiès prison project was a well-designed scheme to bring prisons in Senegal to the standards of metropolitan prisons. However, the colonial authorities abandoned the project to resume using designs to which they were accustomed. A tendency to return to those forms became evident when they erected a new prison at Dakar in 1924. Several factors account for its construction. The French felt as never before the need for an effective prison system. In the wake of the political disorders of the 1920s and soaring urban populations due to the arrival of thousands of rural migrants in Dakar and other major cities, criminal behavior increased, as discussed in chapter one. Thus arose the need for a larger prison to house the rapidly increasing numbers of inmates. There was also the assumption that the Saint-Louis prison, built sixty years earlier, was becoming too small to hold dangerous inmates. Finally, in 1924, Dakar was elevated to the status of the Circumscription of Dakar and Dependences, a separate political and administrative entity within the colony of Senegal and it also was the capital of Senegal and the French West African Federation. These factors created a demand for a new prison. The Dakar prison embodied the “classic” prison model, marking another groundbreaking shift in the architecture of prisons in French Senegal. It was the personification of the classic metropolitan square-shaped prison with its perfectly aligned four sides. Despite being renamed the Rebeuss prison today, the Dakar prison is also best known as 100m2, a namesake that implies that it measures 100 meters on each side. But the evidence shows that the Dakar prison is a rectangle of 101.60 m × 77.20 m.59 Without pressing the point too far, we may say the Dakar prison is today the chief feature of the prison system in Senegal. The available sketches show its strong façade (Figures 3.15 and 3.16), the appearance of which was inseparable from the prison’s designation as a maison centrale. Although the designs differed, the French echoed in the Dakar prison the intention of the 1906 Thiès prison. Its categorization as a central prison conveyed its image as a place for the most dangerous offenders. In contrast to the Saint-Louis prison, the façade of the Dakar prison was deeply rooted in the colonial architecture idiom. Retaining a certain family likeness, it was modeled after dwellings built in Senegal around that time, not a surprise since the top floor was designated as housing for the régisseur, the head of guards, and their families. The reasons for this family likeness can be found in



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Figure. 3.15.  Ground plan of the façade of the new Dakar prison, 1924 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Alain Sinou’s argument that “houses built in Senegal at the beginning of the nineteenth century were somehow similar. They copied the principles of the spatial organization of military buildings, and when public facilities were built in such neighborhood, they often looked like those houses.”60 Moreover, the façade was adapted to the climate, with numerous windows to project light and fresh air into the building. The wood-floored rooms in the top floor were of fairly large size and opened into each other with exposed granite construction verandas for maximum airflow, a feature of colonial housing (Figure 3.16).

Figure 3.16.  Coupe elevation of the façade and ground plan of the home of the warden in the new Dakar prison Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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Like the Saint-Louis prison, the Dakar prison was built on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean in the African village of Medina, a location that encapsulated concerns for air circulation while embodying the isolation of Africans mainly after the 1914 bubonic plague that ravaged the city (see chapter 2). It is in the façade that the designer(s) retained most completely the imprint of the classic prison model. There were more architectural details in the façade of the Dakar prison than in any prisons built in Senegal (Figure 3.15). The façade has some of the trimming details associated with prison façades in metropolitan France. The most visible of the façade is an arched gate with moldings to articulate it. The gate was topped by a gable that ended with what looks like a cross, a symbol of Gothic architecture highlighted in the metropolitan prisons. Inflicted with this French accent that emphasized it, the gate enhanced the design of the façade while breaking its dwelling composition and reminding outsiders of the existence of the prison. The designers of colonial prisons in Senegal were inspired by the Gothic style fever that hit Europe a century earlier. According to Norman Johnston, “in the early nineteenth century architects were reaching into the ready grab-bag of period styles for one appropriate to a prison. But which? The Greek revival, usually Doric, or a castellated style involving Gothic details, were the most common choices.”61 Thus, the façade of the Dakar prison demonstrates that for the colonial prisons in Africa, styles did matter as well. Nevertheless, the persistence of certain features of previous prisons was apparent. The Dakar prison recalled the Saint-Louis prison in the general composition of its façade as a one-story structure with offices and homes of the régisseur and the head of guards respectively on the first and second floors (Figure 3.17).

Figure 3.17.  An updated façade of the Dakar prison, also known as the Rebeuss Prison Courtesy of the Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiaire



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Figure 3.18.  A photo of the Médina neighborhood with the wall of the new Dakar prison in the background, 1931 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

The Dakar prison’s solid, outer, granite wall (Figure 3.18) was 4.5 meters high.62 The wall has a strong punitive tone. To it, the designers said the prevailing concern for high security required for a maison centrale, thus concurring with Alfred Hopkins that “the type of the prison will largely determine the necessity for the wall.”63 It made the facility’s most visible ornament, thus emphasizing the prison as among the most visible structures on the Dakar shoreline today. The wall led the passerby to thoughts about prisons and to experience them as a curiosity. Although designated a classic model, the Dakar prison was the only prison in its genre, but the design of its façade elaborated the 1942 Rufisque prison (Figure 3.19), a 220-inmate facility built 15 miles from Dakar, a location that made it well-suited for development as a major penitentiary. In fact, until July 1938, many inmates from the Dakar prison served their sentences in the disciplinary cells at the Rufisque’s police station, but they were transferred back to Dakar after some of them attempted to kill the police chief’s wife.64 The administrators of Dakar, however, decided that a second prison was necessary. Thus, the following year, they listed the amount of 23,100 francs in the city budget toward the construction of a new prison in Rufisque, then designated as an annex of the Dakar prison.65 Not surprisingly, its front façade (Figure 3.20) was consistent with the dwelling composition of the front of the Dakar prison and encapsulated the authorities’ strong belief that imprisonment should be represented by strong facades. The Rufisque prison’s layout was much better than most framed by space consideration.

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Figure 3.19.  A ground plan of the Rufisque prison built in 1942 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Unlike other prisons, the 87.50 × 63.40-meter prison consisted of a rectangular institution divided into three distinct sections (Figure 3.19). Its interior was articulated by an interesting arrangement of rarely seen features: large courtyards, gardens, kitchen gardens, and workrooms between, around, and beside the sections and greater open space, indicating a prison



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Figure 3.20.  Coupe elevations and ground plan of the façade of the Rufisque prison, 1942 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

bursting with activities for inmates. Security was achieved by locating penal quarters in the third section. It was also accomplished by the placement of two courts, to be used by inmates to enter their quarters, as well as by the closed courtyards where they spent the day and participated in activities. The penal quarters were divided into two blocks: 2 large buildings, one for 36 detainees and the other for 48 detainees, 4 disciplinary cells; and 16 two-person cells made up the first block planned for 110 inmates. Bathing and lavatory facilities set in the center of the block helped break up its monotonous arrangement. The second block, empty of buildings and activities, was reserved for potential expansion to reach the prison’s 200-inmate capacity. To ensure increased and constant surveillance from every angle and corner of the prison, the designer(s) separated the two blocks from the enclosure wall by the delimitation of an encircling patrol path. The overall plan indicates an increased stress on cellular confinement aimed, surprisingly, not at separating the Europeans but at isolating the sick. However, it supports the argument that large and common dormitories continued to be the norm, thus stressing that until the early 1940s, imprisonment in Senegal was a bitter shared experience for the majority of inmates. Features reminiscent of prisons built earlier also can be observed in the Rufisque prison (for instance, it was encased in a rectangular shape). Although its architectural character was consistent with those ideas, the prison was not completely finished, which jeopardized its functions.

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Lack of adherence to the original plans or their transformation was easily readable not only in the written records but also in the plans. In his study of colonial cities and their architectures in Senegal, Alain Sinou points out that “the drawing of a plan often relates to a desire to transform an edifice.”66 The plan clearly shows how much work was completed. From a projected 200inmate capacity, the Rufisque prison was altered to a 110-inmate facility with additional buildings projected on the second empty block. Similarly, in 1938, the authorities at Ziguinchor approved the extension of the city’s existing prison. The original design is not available. But the extension plan (Figure 3.21) is a scaled-down version of the first extension proposal. It shows a rectangular prison spread across a 144-square-meter surface area with a much different internal layout that set the entrance in the center and the penal quarters, offices, toilets, and kitchens in the walls of the prison, thereby saving on the cost of an enclosure wall, but at the expense of security. Two years later, the authorities enlarged the prison, this time adding a private courtyard for the European and Originaire inmates (Figure 3.22). Ziguinchor was home to a French court, a reason why its prison housed these categories of inmates. Continual repairs and extension projects altered the internal layouts of colonial prisons, creating unreadable architectural styles, as shown later.

Figure 3.21.  Extension plan of the Ziguinchor prison, 1938 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

Figure. 3.22.  A ground plan of the extension of the Ziguinchor prison, 1940 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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Created from 1931 onward, penal labor camps represented another stage in the architecture of the colonial prisons. Their distinctive forms reflected a dramatic rupture from the styles of all other prisons. They were the simplest facilities and did not lend themselves to the regular prison buildings. Due to their mobility, they were portable architectures that added to the harsh prison labor punishment their residents were subjected to. Because the buildings were temporary, they are the only type of colonial prison with no surviving structures today. These features, however, did not prevent them from being part of the colonial penal landscape. The designs of penal camps were in conformity with the categories and types of prisoners they served. The plan of the “A” penal camp in Thiès (Figure 3.23), a facility housing inmates sentenced to at least one-year prison terms, displays a design that was a marking of their short sentences and less dangerous character. The camp was comprised of two 35-inmate-barracks arranged at some distance from one another and surrounded by huts serving as housing for guards and a checkpoint for night guards, a kitchen, and a storage unit. The camp’s lack of front entrance and an enclosure wall and its placement in a remote location indicate the authorities’ minimal concerns for security and low construction effort and expense. The plan, however, shows that punishment was embodied in the one element that associated the institution with penal camps: the road that inmates were there to build. A stillvisible inscription on the plan proved that. It reads: “route Thiès à Tivaoune (road Thiès to Tivaoune). In 1941, when the plan was produced, the camp was located six kilometers from Thiès.67 But no plan better expresses the connections between penal camp designs and the classification and characterization of their residents than the sketch of the “C” penal camp at Kelle (Figure 3.24), which embodied the spectacle of punishment that unfolded in prisons in that category. Camp in the “C” category housed the dangerous criminals, recidivists, convicts, reclusionaires, and irréductibles, and their layouts reflect the inmates’ dangerousness and propensity to escape, a main concern to colonial authorities who depended on inmate labor to build the roads needed for a prosperous economy. The layout of the Kelle penal included three wired fences, each three meters high, one succeeding another in reducing the penal spaces to the minimum, an arrangement that forced surveillance between, around, and outside the fences. Adding to this high-security setting was the confinement of relégués, deemed the most dangerous inmate, in a separate dormitory; this was intended to avert plotting of riots, which were usually blamed on relégués and for which “C” penal camps achieved notoriety. In 1941 when the plan was submitted, the camp’s 85 residents were confined in two 20 × 5 meter dormitories; one contained 53 prisoners.68 It is worth noting that penal

Figure. 3.23.  A ground plan of the “A” penal camp at Thiès, 1941 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

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Figure. 3.24.  A ground plan of the “C” penal camp at Kelle, 1941 Courtesy of the Archives Nationales du Sénégal

camps, no matter their classification, functioned as places of confinement mainly at night because prisoners spent their day at work sites and returned to the camps in the evening. Their night functionality added to the security concerns. Prisoners’ diets were secured by a kitchen and a food storage unit set inside the first fence and their well-being by an infirmary inside the penal wards. The colonial administration’s dependence on the inmates for labor justified the efforts to prevent illness and promote health. Although the styles



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of the various categories of penal camps were by no means identical, a unique unifying feature was that their residents served their sentences under the open sky, sometimes seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Overall, the penal camps were purposeless in design, construction, and internal arrangement. Except for a few prisons with reasonable ideal composition for modern penal facilities, there are no variations in designs or execution of the plan, elevation, and interior details. The overall architecture of colonial prisons was quite lacking in styles and owed little to French metropolitan influence. Thus, most penal facilities were slightly architectural in scale and, similar in form, and did not resemble prisons, except for a few (in this case the Thiès prison and the constructed 1924 Dakar prison), which suggests that their designers were aware of prison stylistic developments back home in France. The rectangular layout was a one-shape-fits-all, the style most resonant with French colonial punishment ideas and most appropriate for prison architecture, thus making the majority of prisons similar. Its selection testified to a vision of imprisonment in French Senegal, a vision so strong to the French that it was inconceivable to erect a prison not shaped as rectangle. Furthermore, in most plans, little is said about building materials and elements of construction that allow for adequate light and air and vocational training for inmates. No doubt the architecture of colonial prisons never carried with it a commitment to the rehabilitation of inmates. The colonial prison in Senegal was in the image of nineteenth-century metropolitan French prisons. Patricia O’Brien argues that “despite the reformist zeal of the 1830s and 1840s, French prisons during the Second Empire were still far from the goals of isolation of prisoners and rehabilitation through work, prayer, and learning. Improvements decreed by law during the Third Republic remained virtually unimplemented on the eve of World War I.”69 The typology of prison buildings and the reading of their designs already point to an ambiguous tradition and policy of prison architecture. However, appraising the politics of design and construction allows us to better understand how imprisonment was architecturally articulated in colonial prisons. THE POLITICS OF DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF COLONIAL PRISONS In his study of the issues of interpretation in the history of architecture, William Whyte contends that “the study of architecture is about more than just the study of a single building. An architectural historian may also investigate the process of design, of construction and use.”70 He goes on to add that “the evolution of a building from conception to habitation occurs

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in a number of overlapping stages.” Prison architecture in colonial Senegal was produced through events and over time rather than being driven by one single idea and conceived in one moment. While colonial architects dressed up prisons with facades, iron-barred windows, doors, and other architectural details relevant to places of confinement, their plans reflect other priorities that shadowed punishment practices. Concerns related to climate, hygiene, medicine, and racial segregation all proved very influential to prison designs; likewise, the minimal development of standards for prison construction and limited funds hampered the building of appropriate penal facilities. All these factors argue for assessment of the politics of prison design and construction in French Senegal. The Production of Prison Designs and Policy Concerns Analysis of prison plans shows that colonial prisons in Senegal were an architectural experiment. However, there is a strong likelihood that these surviving sketches do not present conventional depictions of Senegal’s colonial prisons or might not be accurate views. But who designed them? Why did they choose particular designs and what were the ruling concerns and considerations in doing so? These questions are fundamental in assessing the creation of prison designs and the politics of architectural practice. When the French began building prisons in the 1860s, their designs fell into the hands of architects or trained engineers working in the Public Works Service. But it is impossible to make sense of their work without situating it within its context. In other words, it is important to specify the positions in which the designers of prisons found themselves as well as the ideas, policies, and circumstances that structured their work. Until the 1890s, the Public Works Service received directives from the director of the Interior, who commissioned sketches for prisons as illustrated by his correspondence. In 1892, the head of the Public Works Service wrote: “Dear Director of the Interior, I would like you to tell me whether a ground plan is only needed for each prison or the plans of all prisons with elevations and estimated costs.”71 The Public Works Service later moved out of the Direction of the Interior to become the Service of Public Works, Viaducts, and Mines, which was created to support administrative services and transport in Senegal. The Decree of May 31, 1930, structured the voirie and decided construction norms and in the process an autonomous architectural service was created a year later, to give Dakar new styles. In 1949, the laboratory of Bâtiment et Travaux Publics in Paris opened an annex in Dakar. At the federal level, Senegal’s Public Works Service was under the authority of the French West Africa Inspection of Public Works. Thus, prison architects operated within this highly political and administrative hierarchy.



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Their work, however, remained typical of their time. Their assignments were partly influenced by what Gwendolyn Wright called the colonial opportunities for French architects who used the outre-mer, or colonial cities, as laboratories to work out some of the political, social, and aesthetic issues that had plagued France and raised concerns among architects.72 Wright establishes that “the major setting for transforming the concerns of architects and intellectuals into policies, for putting theories in practice, was not to be France or even Europe, but cities of the French colonies.”73 But she contends that “in each colony administrators and professionals faced somewhat different circumstances as they built, evolving particular urban and architectural solutions.”74 Senegal was not an exception. While architects produced plans that reflected changing penal concerns, most often their proposals were dictated by reference to inmate population estimates, the amount and availability of land and funds, and workforce availability. This is reflected in the construction of the Dakar prison. In 1923, Bernard, delegate of the government, wrote to the governor of Senegal about the prison plan. He announced that “a state-owned land is available to build the future prison of Dakar and an engineer of the second arrondissement had prepared a plan.”75 The ruling considerations of the design, he stated, were his “own recommendations and those of the committee in charge of studying new regulations for prisons in FWA that projected a 511-inmate prison facility.” This capacity was roughly estimated considering “the extension of the port of Dakar that would increase the city’s population,” a likelihood that led him to support the plan. Bernard, in approving the scheme, said that he did so after also considering the intention of his superior (the governor) “to house all long sentence inmates in a secure prison pending their transfer to the central house,” which the governor still planned to build in Thiès. Until 1923, there was still hope the Thiès-panoptical prison would become a reality. As discussed later, funds caused the authorities to abandon simply the project. The evidence also shows that the production of prison designs in Senegal was a process in which influence worked in one direction. Because imprisonment mattered, and the production of the built work was exclusively in the hands of the colonial state, its influence was notable. Production of plans was also a complex process. On the one hand, it was linked to architecture generally. On the other hand, it was associated with justifying French penal policies and other policies relevant to their presence in Senegal. Thus, prison buildings elaborated on politically charged, stereotyped, and representational designs that reflected those policies. The creation of prison designs in French Senegal was not separated from the policies of the colonial state. The design of prisons was also influenced by adaptation to climate conditions and compliance with sanitary and medical regulations, all of which

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carried a measure of prudence. The safeguarding of health being a priority for the colonial government, prisons were designed with a stress on illness prevention, hygiene, and climate. Original designs were retouched, modified, or simply rejected based on recommendations of doctors, who sanctioned them based on how they articulated these triple requirements. As members of the prisons’ surveillance committees, doctors usually urged the construction of spacious and airy cells and dormitories with netting mesh to reduce the menace of mosquitoes. But in most cases, they called for changes to give European inmates the benefit of a healthy and disease-free prison life experience. The efficiency of a prison plan was measured by how concerns for the health and hygiene of European detainees were articulated. This combined emphasis on protection and racial segregation was nicely captured in a letter from the governor of FWA to the administrator of Dakar in 1931 about the extension plan of the Dakar prison, which after six years of operation proved too small to house growing numbers of prisoners. The governor began by drawing attention to the recommendations of the general inspector of the Sanitary and Medical Service of French West Africa. Indeed, the inspector “urged for a separation of the European prison from the native prison” and blasted the plan, which “from a sanitary standpoint was unfit because of the closeness of the two prisons and the increase of the capacity to an additional 126 inmates.”76 He then judged the plan disappointing. He contended that “what is acceptable for regular housings might not be tolerable for prison cells, which are usually poorly ventilated despite airing holes on roofs and toilets.” He proposed to change it by installing “mosquito nettings in the rooms for Europeans to ward off an outbreak of yellow fever but mainly malaria that is widespread in this neighborhood” (Medina, the African village). The governor concluded by reminding the administrator that “at a time when people are urged to make significant efforts to fight off diseases, it would be irrelevant to erect a building not suited to all the requirements of public health.” To some degree, in rejecting the plan, both the governor and the general inspector wanted to ward off Europeans from disease-prone African prisoners and neighborhoods, which suggested that to be accepted, the plan had to conform to public health regulations. As a result of these inscribed hygienic principles, prison designs were often modified and not for the best: quarters for European were doubled by new layouts while African prisoners had no choice but to mingle in over-capacity dormitories. The authorities’ rejection of the plan to enlarge the Dakar prison reveals that the task of prison architects was a very difficult and ambiguous mission. At the center of this mission stands a paradox. How could they on one hand impose punishment in the most repressive way and keep inmates confined in secure prisons and on the other hand articulate significant colonial policies?



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As a result, the policy of prison design in Senegal was wrong-headed and charted the architectural appearance of most prisons. Another notable aspect of the policy of prison designs was that the most appropriate designs were for urban prisons. Not surprisingly, all plans analyzed above represent urban prisons, except the penal camps. Nor should we be surprised to find the largest prisons were city prisons, which provide valuable information on the architecture of colonial prisons. In contrast, the majority of prisons in remote areas were rarely mapped out in plans. Too little is known about their architectural forms. Moreover, most prisons were designed with little conformity with or reference to the textual categorization of prisons and the classification of prisoners. Rarely enforced or respected, the latter were only fictive principles. In sum, the design of prisons in French Senegal reflected the colonial experience of architects, while in articulation and creativity, they corresponded with French policies in Senegal. Even after World War II, an era of major infrastructure construction programs in Senegal, the task of architects consisted of changing original plans of prisons instead of preparing new ones. Although the focus in the post-war era was to provide colonial cities with new urban designs, these programs did not concern prisons. After 1945, French African colonies witnessed the production of architectural forms “no longer informed by a vague set of statements . . . but by particular concerns, one being the beginning of colonial urbanism per se, and another a simplified, more direct approach to the designs of particular buildings.”77 Unfortunately, the last prisons were built in the early 1940s, before the war ended, and any prisons opened afterward were housed in recycled buildings. Moreover, financial difficulties had crippled efforts to implement coherent programs of prison construction, which had impacted the architectural appearance of most prisons, thus causing disharmony in the composition of their internal layouts. The Economy of Prison Construction Prison designs had already exposed the limitations of penal policies in colonial Senegal. Prison construction policy further restricted the prison enterprise because inadequate funds negatively affected the colonial prisons. The evidence provides insights into the economic situations that molded prisons’ architectural formation. For the purpose of this analysis, I take some points of reference from the 1936 memorandum of colonial inspector Monguillot on prisons in Senegal. More than a century after the French established the first prisons; he wrote: “today, la chose pénitentiaire (the penitentiary thing) is a matter of inadequate funding. I wonder why the local administration even in time of greater prosperity, had funded parsimoniously the penitentiary

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services while investing heavily in non-moneymaking sectors.”78 Monguillot’s statement encapsulated that the maintenance of prisons was a low priority for the authorities, who consciously underfunded them. From the onset of prison construction in Senegal until 1914, when resources were very limited, colonial authorities gave little thought to prison construction, instead renting houses, converting warehouses, old military barracks, and religious buildings into prisons and changing original designs into reasonable projects, all measures intended to save money. Hence, the only cities with built prisons during those years were Saint-Louis and Dakar. The pattern did not change in the interwar period, when only a small number of new prisons were built despite the implementation of regulations in 1929 that reiterated the classification of inmates based on sex, age, and crime. Even after 1945, when experience combined with greater prosperity through revenue accumulation and metropolitan investments and most cercles spurted with wealth from tax and forced-labor money, funds for prison construction were chronically short. The inadequacy of prison funds overshadowed the architectural dimension of most facilities and shed light on the level of social deprivation and the degree of economic frugality in the colonial penal world. A mere 2 percent of a prison’s building property value was required for its maintenance in 1920.79 Years later, it changed slightly. For example, of the 110,000 francs earmarked for the management of the “A” Thiès penal for the year 1939, only 6,000 were bestowed for the maintenance and repair of the camp.80 The same year, the building of an eight-inmate cell block cost approximately 912 francs.81 Prison projects were financed by what was called the poste de grosses reparations and améliorations, a separate budget managed by the Public Works Service. Thus, the policy of prison construction consisted mainly of repairing and improving old, dilapidated, or small facilities to keep or enhance their use as places of confinement and erecting a few cheap prisons whose appearance was expected to be architecturally expressive of imprisonment. Prison projects, however, were approved, rejected, or changed based on their costs. From the beginning, for instance, the projected cost of the 1906 proposed Thiès panoptical prison doomed it to failure. The proposal to build a maison centrale involved heavy expenditures in judging by its 250-inmate capacity and its panoptical architecture. The first design was rejected because the prison carried a high price tag of 720,000 francs at a time when the colonial state faced unprecedented budget deficits. A cheaper design was prepared for 1 million francs; adding to the expense was the value of the site, three acres of land, estimated at more than 2 million francs. The uncertainty of prison funding even caused the Public Works Service employees to delay their proposals. In 1921, pending the approval of the recommendation by the general council of Senegal to add three buildings



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at the first prison in Dakar to ease congestion, the public works director objected to drawing up a plan until the money was secured.82 In similar circumstances, they considered their work a waste of time, as captured in a letter from Aminot, director of the Public Works Service, to the governor of Senegal. In the process of finalizing the extension project of the Kaolack prison in 1938, Aminot, who learned that approved funding would not be available, simply questioned the need to commission plans “if there is no certitude they will be financed.”83 As the number of inmates increased, so did the number of repair and extension projects, but meanwhile, piecemeal rather than comprehensive planning characterized the policy of prison construction in Senegal. The colonial authorities found themselves overwhelmed by increasing funding requests, and they approved only the most urgent projects for reasons and considerations known only to them. In 1940, the commandant of Casamance approved the construction of an entirely new prison in Ziguinchor, but he ordered that rooms for Europeans as well as a courtyard and a clay-brick cell block for Originaire prisoners be erected first.84 The fact that Ziguinchor seated a French tribunal might have been the reason, but it was not a valid one because the prison housed many prisoner groups of different social status and race. The lack of funding often delayed prison projects from one year to another and sometimes for years while funding requests were approved but unintentionally delayed at the expense of the security of prisons, the safety of their buildings and personnel, and the well-being of inmates who paid the price on top of their ordeal. Hence, it is worth looking at some examples. In 1924, the 1,500 francs requested by the régisseur of the prison at Tambacounda to build a much-needed 50-inmate cell block was approved for the budget of 1925.85 After a fire destroyed the Kédougou prison in 1925, the régisseur requested 2,500 francs to rebuild the prison, but he was told to wait until the next year because of a budget deficit. A similar situation occurred at Louga, where a budget shortfall in 1932 was cited to delay to 1933 the 16,500 francs requested by the director of the penal camp to build new dormitories. The project was tentatively postponed to the next year’s budget.86 A 1935 project to extend eight dormitories at the Dakar prison received approval. The city agreed to spend only 100,000 francs of the 425,000 price tag 87 but allocated the money to the budget of 1936.88 Delays continued over the years, causing administrators to beg desperately for funds. In 1943, the administrator of Sédhiou penned a letter to his superior, the commandant of Ziguinchor, regarding the need to fence off the prison (which was missing an enclosure wall), asking in 1941, 1942, and 1943, 25,000 francs toward that end. Funding requests were so recurrent and persistently unanswered that they were sometimes formulated in imploring

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tones, as when the director of the prison at Louga wrote the commandant of cercle: “I respectfully request at least 500 francs to repair quarters of the old prison that still could be used as penal facilities.”89 Such examples are countless. The magnitude of delays in prison projects was felt everywhere across the colony and over the years, suggesting that every prison was on a waiting list of construction, repair, and extension. But more than simply budgetary considerations were involved. The evidence indicates a confluence of political and economic factors hampered prison construction. The financially-driven colonial state, obsessed with extracting resources to ensure its own reproduction, was not eager to spend its revenues on prisons. Thus, it imposed a financial burden on the cercles by requiring their administrators meet the cost of soaring prison projects. However, prisons placed enormous financial burdens, already the cercles’ most pressing concerns, pushing administrators to concoct complex schemes for building projects. Judging the 1935 repair project of the Kaolack prison, Remy, the cercle administrator, returned the plan to the director of the Public Works Office with his feedback. He wrote: I think we ought to replace only the roof of the prison and build toilets. Fencing the prison backyard would cost 110,000 francs and it would be more practical spending the money for more urgent projects such as the remodeling of housings in Fatick. If the funds are drawn from a special prison budget, then I think that it would be more realistic to build new dormitories in other prisons instead of fencing the backyard of the Kaolack prison.90

In the absence of funds, administrators came up with their own ideas about how prison projects were to be carried out. After desperately requesting resources to build a new prison at Kaolack, Brocard, commandant of Sine-Saloum, suggested this: “After so many years, the Kaolack prison is still waiting to be built and we are still waiting on funds. In the meantime, we can suppress the number of horses which are not useful anymore after the residency had a car and converted the horse stalls into a prison, an easy and economical adaptation.”91 In 1924, one-half of inmates at the Diourbel prison slept in horse stalls.92 Three years later, thirty inmates were allowed to spend the day outdoors because the prison was too small to accommodate its 180 residents.93 Brocard pursued an increase of the city’s budget to build a new prison but suggested keeping the name “prison” for the new building instead of “police room” so the city would bear the construction costs since it employed inmates for street cleaning and landscaping.94 The pressure on the cercle administrators to meet the cost of prison projects was further emphasized in reports completed between 1939 and 1950 by Villeneuve, inspector of administrative affairs. He concluded each report with this sentence: “the



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repair or extension of the prison could be supported by the budget of the cercle that would allocate the funds to pay for it.”95 Starving for revenue, cercles were eager to spend only what was essential to keep inmates locked up. These limitations led Gwendolyn Wright to argue that in the French colonies, most architects and builders sought economical simplicity.96 In Senegal, most prisons were cheap and poorly designed structures that reflect how limited funds caused irreparable damage to the overall architectural composition of colonial prisons. Efforts to implement coherent programs of prison construction arose before 1940 but were slow and insubstantial. After World War II, however, new attempts emerged to reform the prison system framed by considerations of the poor organization of prisons, the political changes following the war and increased investments in African colonies. It was evident that the colonial prison world was in chaos after 1945, a time when the political landscape was also turning chaotic. Swelling crime rates in rapidly growing cities, where demands for new programs in all sectors, popular protests against the hardships resulting from war and hostility to colonial rule were occurring, coupled with strict social control policies to contain them, translated into an increasing number of arrested and imprisoned people, thereby requiring new prisons. Greater resources also motivated the authorities to unveil a prison reform that took shape in 1946, the year France created the Fonds d’investissement et de développement économique et social des Territoires d’Outre-Mer (FIDES), making available metropolitan funds in its African colonies.97 According to Sophie Dulucq, Senegal received the largest portion of FIDES’ investments on any of the colonies, with 3.871 billion FF in 1958, versus 790 million for Niger, 1.264 billion of FF for Haute Volta, and 2.3 billion for Sudan.98 This flow of money gave the authorities the confidence to propose a penal reform anchored around the construction of six new prisons, each estimated to cost 68 million francs, for a total of 408 million francs. These funds were to be available for more than ten years. Yet, not one single prison was built because of the high price tag.99 This was another example of the authorities’ unwillingness to fund prisons. Adding to the limited funds was the quality of building materials that posed further limitations to the policy of prison construction. The policy of prison construction was also affected by the quality of building materials. The history of the architecture of colonial prisons in Senegal can be read in the building materials. The unique functional architecture of most prisons was lost because of inadequate construction materials. Throughout the colonial period, as prison budgets were increasingly restricted, there was, as one colonial administrator put it, “a need to use local materials because the maintenance of prisons increased annually and represented heavy expenses for our administration.”100 Locally available range of local materials

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offered colonial authorities a substitute for expensive imported materials at no cost, satisfying prison living standards without putting a dent in already low or limited prison budgets. More affordable, clay-built structures enclosed with barbed wire or thorny branches were adopted for most prisons but resulted unexpectedly in epidemics of escapes, prompting the authorities to disapprove them both for this reason and because of their potential fire risks. However, in the colonial environment of Senegal, the use of local materials had especially far-reaching significance. The reliance on local materials took shape in a building tradition known as à la mode du pays, a style that gradually was abandoned for local dwellings but was retained in prisons over the years. Thus, until the 1946 prison reform project in Senegal, prisons, mainly those in remote areas, were built with local materials, a practice that Alain Sinou attributes to their availability. Sinou points out that: “before World War II, no one thought of transporting to the colonies materials like steel or glass for the edification of architectural oeuvres. Thus, colonial administrations used existing local materials such as laterite of poor quality, dried or baked clay, dried grass, wood to which was added slate and tile as roofing materials.”101 But their downside is that most of these materials deteriorated quickly in the climate of Senegal. To complicate matters, building materials usually were recycled. In 1940, the head of the subdivision of Mbour penned a letter to his superior, the administrator of Thiès, reporting on the repair of the city’s prison. He wrote: “a few days ago, we demolished the police station building and then we had built new edifices to house the new station. Now, we are repairing the prison with materials recycled from the demolished police station building.”102 In 1944, the Koutal penal camp at Kaolack was built with materials recycled from three other penal camps.103 Reprocessed building materials became flimsy, causing collapses or fissures in already defective structures and making easier for inmates to escape and to communicate with people outside. These effects served as evidence for the use of mixtures of clay and grass-fired bricks and later of more durable materials. Some prison buildings were fortified to some extent with cement, granite, and lumber instead of local materials; their use being mostly determined by concerns related to security, safety, and prevention of prison breaks. For instance, large and high-capacity prisons where escapes challenged functionality were built with durable materials. The choice of a specific material was likely to depend on the particular category of prison. For penal camps, the main criteria were how easy they were to demolish, rebuild, and displace as work sites moved. Thus, metallic barracks were most preferred because for their easiness to transport as well as durability in preventing escapes. By their facades and enclosure walls, the 1924 Dakar prison and the 1942 Ru-



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fisque prison symbolized the era of durable building materials and continued to exemplify that as they were added to. In 1937, all doors, ceilings, and structures in a new building erected at the Dakar prison were made of these bois coloniaux (colonial lumber): boudikro, acajou d’Afrique, Badi, Balinga, Evino, Framire, Iroko, Okoume, Olovongo, and Tiama.104 Exactly what bois coloniaux ought to consist of and where they were found were by no means clear. However, their African names carried the assumption that they were not imported materials. The lack of funds so decried by authorities did not prevent them from improving the living conditions of European inmates. Visiting the prison at Dakar in 1940, the general inspector of Health and Medical Services of FWA recommended providing Europeans “separate toilets with tile covered bathtubs,”105 a reminder of how differences in the treatment of Europeans and Africans permeated the colonial prison in its entirety. The policy of prison construction was also marked by low labor costs. The French created the colonial prison and recruited most of its builders among inmates. In the twentieth century, as their numbers increased, inmates became an important source of labor on which the authorities depended to support the construction and maintenance of prisons. Inmates were a cheap and ready pool of workers. In the course of their sentences, most of them played a direct role in helping carry out prison projects, from construction to renovation to extension. Furthermore, the authorities found an optimal solution for reducing cost recruiting régisseurs to superintend construction. In 1938, the extension of the prison at Ziguinchor “was conducted by the director in collaboration with the Public Works personnel with inmates completing the tasks.”106 In 1955, Pantanancce, régisseur of the Saint-Louis prison, received overtime pay for overseeing the renovation of the institution and thanks from the governor for his efforts to “modernize the prison and save money by cutting repair costs down to two million instead of the 7,720,000 francs estimated by the public works service.”107 In his capacity as director, he also created “a construction unit that recycled building materials for the renovation of prisons and recruited all inmates with construction skills as handicraftsmen.” Pantanancce’s job was more than a matter of confining inmates securely and safely. The use of inmate labor also gave inmates a slight chance of vocational training while keeping expenses to the minimum. These cases exemplified the ability of colonial authorities to complete prison projects with limited funds and cheap labor and shape their policy of prison construction with an approach to avoiding big spending, a reason why private companies were barely involved in prison projects despite making interesting offers. For instance, in 1935, the director of the Construction Africaine, a private construction company, tried to cut a deal with the governor of Senegal on the extension of the Dakar prison, which had been in 1931. He wrote: “Dear

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governor, we had been informed that your administration would soon launch the extension of the Dakar prison.”108 Seizing the fact that the “urgency of the project does not give time for a bid” he ensured the governor that “the execution of the project would be easier if you give us part of the deal. Our engineer, Mr. Violat is ready to collaborate with your engineers.” Then, in an attempt to build a continuing working relationship with the government, he said: “we offer our service knowing that the project will give your engineers the chance to appreciate the valuable contribution that our company is eager to bring to on that occasion under the supervision of our new head of service.” Despite the willingness of private companies to participate in prison construction, their offers went unanswered. In the cahiers des charges (building and construction specifications), it was made clear that building materials and products for prison projects should originate from France and be transported on French ships and that only French citizens could submit applications. To this end, the colonial government advertised grès à grès markets or separated bids to give metropolitan companies more opportunity to gain as many markets as possible and approve the cheapest offers, thus keeping prison construction in the hands of Europeans. This chapter tells about the way imprisonment took shape in architecture in French Senegal, showing that the typology of its prisons reveals concerns not with either architecture or the people who occupied prisons but only with the repressiveness they imposed on inmates and displayed to the outside world. Because of the way styles developed over time, it is clear that prison buildings formed an image of the colonial prison as architecturally unique in its expression but also dynamic in its production. The chapter shows that failed efforts to separate and classify prisoners, and a lack of solitary confinement and visiting rooms were among other major characteristics. Complex and changing inmate classifications also shaped their designs, leading to architectural styles that accommodated racial segregation. Most designs showed evolution, imagination, and originality. The categorization into civil prisons, houses of arrest and correction, houses of arrest, military prisons, centers, penal camps, and penitentiary schools was spelled out only on paper, not reflected in their forms. Before and after 1924, the year the Dakar prison opened its doors, many prison buildings lost most of their common and unifying features as prisons and continued to present some architectural irregularities related to continual maintenance, repair, renovation, and extension, which changed their physical aspects while disrupting their internal spaces. This produced an amalgam of architectural forms different from what appeared on the maps, plans, and drawings. The available plans allow us only to piece together a history of the production of prison designs in French Senegal and the nature of their architectural changes although they



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might not depict the true reality of the colonial prisons. Limited prison funding suggests a disengagement by the colonial state, which handed over the maintenance of prisons to local administrations that experienced troubles in managing and funding facilities in Senegal. However, such an attitude was a double-edged sword, because by cutting prison budgets, the colonial state jeopardized its supposed hegemony. In effect, the presence of dilapidated and substandard prison buildings in Senegal explained to a large extent the high incidence of escapes that challenged the organization of prisons. Indeed, inmates’ communication with the outside world was a widespread phenomenon in the colonial penal world in Senegal. Prison social spaces allowed such communication, while the lack of elaborated prison architectures challenged the surveillance and control of inmates. NOTES 1.  Material from this chapter was previously published in a book on colonial architecture in Africa. Reprint permission was granted by Taylor & Francis. 2.  Here are simple definitions of the four functions of punishment. According to the book Criminal Law, “deterrence prevents future crime by frightening the individual (individual deterrence) or the public (specific deterrence). While incapacitation prevents future crime by removing the defendant from society, rehabilitation prevents future crime by altering the defendants’ behavior. Retribution prevents future crime by removing the desire for personal avengement against the defendants” (University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015 edition), see chapter 2. 3. Francis A. Allen, The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981). 4.  David Rothman, “The Crime of Punishment,” in Punishment and Social Control, eds. T. Bloomberg and S. Cohen (New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 2003), 407. 5.  Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750–1850 (London: Penguin, 1980); Robin Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue: English Prison Architecture, 1750–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); Iona Spens, Architecture of Incarceration (London: Academic Editions, 1994); Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978); David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1971); Janet Semple, Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); Norman B. Johnston, The Human Cage: A Brief of Prison Architecture (New York: Walker, 1973); from the same author, Forms of Constraint: A History of Prison Architecture (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000); Norbert Finzsch and Robert Jütte, eds., Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North American, 1500–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

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6.  Gwendolyn Wright, “Cultural History: Europeans, Americans, and the Meanings of Space,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64 (2005): 437. 7.  Commandant of Saint-Louis to M. Froidevaux, Saint-Louis, March 29, 1820, ANS 3B3. 8.  Propriété des terrains et bâtiments à Dakar, 1833, ANS L10. 9.  Ordonnateur at Gorée to the executive committee of Gorée, Gorée, October 13, 1865, ANS L10. 10.  Alain Sinou, Comptoirs et villes coloniales du Sénégal (St-Louis, Gorée, Dakar) (Paris: Karthala-ORSTOM, 1993), 141. 11.  Norman B. Johnston, The Human Cage: A Brief History of Prison Architecture (New York: Walker, 1973), 35. 12.  Prisons des cercles. Rapport annual, 1908, ANS, 3F/00001. 13.  Administrator of Saldé to the governor of Senegal, Saldé, February 22, 1909, ANS 3F/00001. 14.  On local dwellings in northern Senegal, see Jean P. Bourdieu and Trinh T. Minh-ha, eds., Drawn from African Dwellings (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 73–113. 15.  According to the Collins English Dictionary, a réduit is a military fortification which troops use while holding out an attack. 16.  Report on the Kaolack prison, February 8, 1909, ANS, 3F/00001. 17.  Ravenel: Mission sur les prisons dans le Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, March 1918, ANOM 61COL3046. 18.  Cercle de Dagana. Monthly report, 4 June 1907, ANS, 2G7-40. 19. Administrator of Sédhiou to the administrator superior of Ziguinchor, June 1909, ANS 3F/00001. 20. Administrator of Niani Ouli to the governor of Senegal, Maka Coulibanta, February 17, 1909, ANS 3F/00001. 21.  Administrator of Kolda to the administrator superior of Casamance, Kolda, May 28, 1927, ANS 3F/00085. 22.  Administrator of Bignona to the administrator superior of Casamance, Bignona, May 25, 1927, ANS 3F/00085. 23. Inspector Villeneuve: Report on the prison at Hamdallahi, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 24.  Inspector Villeneuve: Report on the prison at Diourbel, August 20, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 25. Commandant of Baol to the governor of Senegal, Diourbel, July 25, 1929, ANS 3F/00088. 26.  District attorney of Dakar to the general attorney regarding the Dakar prison, Dakar, August 18, 1924, ANS 3F/00037. 27.  Director of the Kaolack prison to the commandant superior of Sine Saloum, 1936, ANS 3F/00198. 28.  Director of the Kédougou prison to the governor of Senegal, Kédougou, April 6, 1925, ANS 3F/00081. 29.  Inspector Villeneuve: Report on prisons in Senegal, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 30. Sinou, Comptoirs et villes, 140.



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31.  Juan Pablo Bonta, Architecture and Its Interpretation: A Study of Expressive Systems in Architecture (London: Lund Humphries, 1979), 232. 32.  Odile Goerg, “Colonial Urbanism and Prisons in Africa: Reflections on Conakry and Freetown, 1903–1960,” in A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, ed. Florence Bernault (Portsmouth: NH: Heinemann, 2003), 132. 33.  Kim Dovey, “Place/Power,” Architectural Design 65 (1995): 40. 34.  Robert Tittler, Architecture and Power: The Town Hall and the English Urban Community c.1500–1640 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 4. 35.  Thomas Markus, “What Do Buildings Have to Do with Power?” Architectural Design 65 (1995): 8–20. 36. Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue, 88. 37.  Mark Hinchman, “House and Household in Gorée, 1758–1837,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 62 (2006): 171. 38.  Meeting of Gorée’s Administrative Council, 1842, ANOM, SEN VIII 11a. 39.  Propriété des terrains et bâtiments à Dakar, 1865, ANS L10. 40.  Director of Interior to the delegate of Interior, Dakar, September 9, 1876, ANS 3F/00038. 41.  Arrêté sur le régime des prisons, Saint-Louis, July 15, 1841, ANS 3F/00085. 42.  Linsday Prior, “The Architecture of the Hospital: A Study of Spatial Organization and Medical Knowledge,” The British Journal of Sociology 39 (1988): 91. 43.  Barry Bergdoll, European Architecture 1750–1890 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 55. 44. Johnston, The Human Cage, 20. 45.  Alfred Hopkins, Prisons and Prison Building (New York: Architectural Book Publishing Company, 1930), 42–43. 46. Semple, Bentham’s Prison, 116. 47. Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue, 196. 48.  Ibid., 199. 49.  Jeremy Bentham, Correspondence (CW), iv. 342, Semple, Bentham’s Prison, 152. 50.  Ibid., 198. 51. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 205. 52.  Ibid., 201. 53. Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue, 199. 54. Semple, Bentham’s Prison, 119. 55. Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue, 147. 56.  Ibid., 211. 57.  S. Low, “Cultural Aspects of Design,” Architectural Behavior 4, no. 2 (1988): 187. 58.  Frank Dikötter and Ian Brown, eds., Cultures of Confinement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin America (London: Hurst and Company, 2007). 59. Delegate of the government to governor of Senegal, Dakar, September 15, 1923, ANS 3F/00034. 60.  Alain Sinou, “Le Sénégal,” in Rives Coloniales: Architectures de Saint-Louis à Douala, ed. Jacques Soulillou (Paris: Éditions Parenthèses, ORSTOM, 1993), 56.

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61. Johnston, The Human Cage, 27–28. 62.  Inspector Carcassonne: Report on the Dakar prison, Dakar, February 22, 1939, 3, ANOM 61COL633. 63.  Alfred Hopkins, Prisons and Prison Buildings (New York: Roger and Manson Co., 1918), 66. 64.  Carcassonne report on the Dakar prison, 29, ANOM 61COL633. 65. Ibid. 66.  Sinou, “Idéologies et pratiques,” 46. 67.  Prisons des cercles. Report on the “A” penal camp in Thiès, Thiès, April 23, 1941, ANS 3 F/000110. 68.  Mission of inspection of prisons by the governor of Senegal, Kelle, March 26, 1941, ANS 3F/00107. 69.  Patricia O’Brien, “Prison Reform in France and Other European Countries in the Nineteenth Century,” in Institutions of Confinement (1996), 292. 70.  William Whyte, “How Do Buildings Mean? Some Issues of Interpretation in the History of Architecture,” History and Theory 45 (2006): 170. 71.  Prisons généralités, 1892, ANS 3F/00006. 72.  Gwendolyn Wright, The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), 3. 73.  Ibid., 18. 74.  Ibid., 84. 75.  Delegate of the government to the governor of Senegal, Dakar, September 16, 1923, ANS 3F/00034. 76.  Governor-general of FWA to the administrator of Dakar, Dakar, November 18, 1931, ANS 4P851. 77. Mia Fuller, “Building Power: Italy’s Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1923–1940,” Cultural Anthropology 3 (1988): 477. 78.  Monguillot: Mission sur les services pénitentiaires du Sénégal, February 1936, ANS 3F/00110. 79. Organization of the prison at Kaolack, Kaolack, January 2, 1920, ANS 3F/00087. 80.  Carcassonne: Report on the prison and penal camp at Thiès, Thiès, July 15, 1939, 11, ANOM 61COL633. 81.  Report on the Louga penal camp, 1939, ANS 3F00093. 82.  Report from the Director of the Public Works Service on the extension of the prison at Dakar, Saint-Louis, March 17, 1921, ANS 3/F00034. 83. Director of the Public Works Service to governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, February 10, 1938, ANS 3F/00198. 84.  Commandant of Casamance to the governor of Senegal, Ziguinchor, November 29, 1938, ANS 3F/00113. 85. Inspector Villeneuve: Report on the prison at Tambacounda, 1925, ANS 3F/00081. 86.  Report on the Louga penal camp, September 1936, ANS 3F/00093. 87.  Dakar et dépendences. Annual report, 1936, ANS 2G36-2. 88. Ibid.



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89.  Director of the Louga penal camp to the commandant of Louga, 1939, ANS 3F/00093. 90.  Commandant of Sine-Saloum to the director of the Public Works Service, Kaolack, January 29, 1935, ANS 3F/00198. 91.  Commandant of Sine-Saloum to the governor of Senegal, Kaolack, June 24, 1938, ANS 3F/00198. 92. Inspector Villeneuve: Report on the prison at Diourbel, August 20, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 93.  Commandant of Baol to the governor of Senegal, Diourbel, July 25, 1929, ANS 3F/00088. 94.  Commandant of Sine-Saloum to the governor of Senegal, Kaolack, June 24, 1938, ANS 3F/00198. 95.  Inspector Villeneuve: Report on the prisons de cercles, ANS 3F00082. 96. Wright, The Politics of Design. 97.  The Fund of Investment for the Economic and Social Development has been created by the decree of July 5, 1946. It was constituted by financial subsidies from local and metropolitan budgets. 98.  Sophie Dulucq, La France et ses villes d’Afrique noire Francophone: quarante ans d’intervention, 1945–1985 (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997), 243. 99.  Governor-general Cournarie to Pleven, commissary of Colonies on the reform of prisons in Senegal, Dakar, 1944, ANS 3F/00136. 100.  Commandant of Casamance to the governor of Senegal, Ziguinchor, November 29, 1938, ANS 3F/00103. 101. Sinou, Comptoirs et villes, 296. 102. Administrator of Mbour to the commandant of Thiès, MBour, September 1939, ANS 3F/00107. 103.  Commandant of Kaolack to the commandant superior of Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, July 4, 1944, ANS 3F/00136. 104.  Extension project of the Dakar prison, 1937, ANS 4P851. 105.  General inspector of the Health and Medical Services of FWA to governor of Senegal regarding the extension of the Dakar prison, 1939–1941, ANS 4P855. 106.  Commandant of Ziguinchor to the governor of Senegal, Ziguinchor, 1938, ANS 3F/00085. 107.  Governor of Senegal to the director of Financial Affairs, Dakar, 1955, ANS 3F/00072. 108.  Director of the Companie, “La Construction Africaine” to the governor of Senegal, 1935, ANS 3F/00090.

Chapter 4

Prison Architecture and Patterns of Surveillance, Life, and Discipline

This chapter examines the impact of architecture on the patterns of communication, life, and discipline within the colonial prisons in Senegal, drawing particular attention to the textual description of their buildings. I situate the analysis of this impact in the context of the wider debate about the connections between institutional architecture, techniques of social control, and mechanisms of discipline. This debate has a strong effect on the kinds of questions asked and the kinds of answers that seem compelling and acceptable to historians of colonial prisons. In fact, the connections between prison architecture and punishment remain poorly studied outside core Western European and North American areas. Hence, this chapter joins the aforesaid debate to rethink the history of prison architecture more broadly and focus on the difference of imprisonment experiences in Senegal and in Africa in general. Prison architecture, or “the architecture of incarceration,”1 has been and continues to be a topic of debates and scrutiny for historians, sociologists, specialists in criminal justice, and scholars in other disciplines. For the past four decades, considerable literature has emerged investigating the emergence of the prison in Europe and North America and the connection between the organization of space and the use of power to discipline and reform prisoners.2 Did this connection really exist in African colonial prisons? To respond to this question, you must ask another question. Did their functions follow their forms? The previous chapter suggests that failure to design and build elaborate prison architecture prevented the French from enforcing the strict surveillance of inmates they desired. Paradoxically, the French exported the prison to Senegal in 1820, a time when Europe witnessed a reform movement that emphasized the expressive power of architecture in amending inmates by controlling their behaviors. However, the prison in French 175

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Senegal did not receive such commitment; African inmates were locked up in penal facilities where power, knowledge, and forms rarely overlapped. In part, this absence of architectural concern in the rehabilitation of prisoners rests on the fact that in nineteenth-century France, prison reforms based on architectural and institutional discipline barely touched French African colonies. In part, the absence had also been a result of the low-cost approach of the politics of prison construction as discussed before. This chapter argues that the architecture of prisons in French Senegal was neither the conventional architecture of discipline praised by reformers in Europe as the salutary way to reform inmates nor a Foucauldian disciplinary architecture that centered on the soul not the body of prisoners. Rather, it was an architecture that placed Africans in the center of disciplinary practices that reflected anything, but repression in its entirety. Prisons in French Senegal were characterized by unorganized spaces resulting from their ill-designed and ill-built architecture that left prison officials and guards powerless to safely and securely confine prisoners. In fact, the one element prison officials most frequently commented on was that their layouts shaped the mechanisms of discipline, classification, and separation, which were quite ineffective in stopping communication between prisoners and the outside, patterns that challenged the very foundations of the prison system. To complicate matters, beyond the pervasive racial order of the colonial prisons, their arrangements hindered the organization of the lives of prisoners who lived in crowded conditions. Nevertheless, in this chaotic world, absolute obedience was demanded. Prison supervisors, mostly Europeans imbued with racist ideas about crimes among Africans, were eager to quell unruliness, vice, and laziness with physical punishment. From the prisons de cercles or district prisons to the penitentiary schools to penal camps, colonial tactics of discipline were applied differently. Worse yet, negative stereotypes that reflected the rhetoric of the French civilizing mission became critical factors in enforcing discipline in these institutions. This chapter also contends that the architecture of prisons in French Senegal made surveillance, discipline, and the organization of prison life incredibly difficult; implying that the colonial prison like the nineteenth-century French prison, was architecturally an “impossible prison.”3 WITHIN WALLS: ARCHITECTURE AND SURVEILLANCE In his book The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre wrote: “everyone knows what is meant when we speak of a ‘room’ in an apartment, the ‘corner’ of a street, a ‘marketplace,’ a shopping or cultural ‘centre,’ a public ‘place’



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and so on. These terms of everyday discourse served to distinguish, but not to isolate, particular places, and in general to describe a social space. They corresponded to a specific use of that space, and hence to a spatial practice that they express and continue.”4 In other words, Lefebvre argues that “(social) space is a (social) product,”5 thus leading to the widely accepted idea that space is socially constructed and produced. Theorizing the production of space in colonial Africa, Fassil Demissie contends that “the social spaces created by colonial architecture were not just containers of urban forms of the human reproduction. They articulated a range of positionalities where forms of dominance, subversion, resistance, and complicity are configured in the ongoing transformation of social practice.”6 Prisons are architectural systems that create social spaces that could be easily appropriated by inmates, in particular, when their facilities are defective. Here I question how the architecture of the colonial prisons in Senegal inform on patterns of surveillance and life. To answer this question, I consider inmate communication as a significant aspect of surveillance. I chose communication because of the wealth of information on the quality and nature of prison buildings and because it brought their architecture to life by connecting issues of surveillance, organization of prison life, and discipline all together. Further, it is one moment in the production of space in the colonial prison as it expressed the encounter between prisoners and their environment. In French Senegal, the deficiencies of prison facilities allowed prisoners to engage in various patterns of communication within and outside in the walls of prisons. Communication was regulated by the 1841 Prison Act, the 1895 consigne pour le concierge de la prison,7 and subsequent decrees. For instance, inmates were expected to work together in silence. They were allowed to write to relatives once a month, except in some circumstances or when authorized by the prison administration. Similarly, the relatives and friends of inmates expected their letters to be channeled through the prison supervisors. Any prisoners caught secretly mailing letters, notes, and/or messages or attempting to do so were punished. Except for the residents of the penal camps, contact with the outside for most inmates was through daily corvées (street cleaning and janitorial tasks in government offices, hospitals, and courts). The evidence, however, indicates that restricted communication in the colonial prisons was poor to nonexistent because their architecture was unfavorable to it. In his book Asylums, Erving Goffman defined a total institution as “a place of residence or work where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.”8 His list of total institutions included asylums, army camps, monasteries, concentration camps, boarding

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schools, and prisons. In French Senegal, inmates were not completely isolated from each other and the wider society because prisons there were not total institutions. Because of the architecture of the colonial prisons, prisoners were easily able to create patterns of communication as not all areas were supervised. For instance, the internal layouts of prisons made no room for solitary confinement. The large-dormitory arrangement, typical of most prisons, herded prisoners together night and day into overcrowded rooms with no provision for privacy, which was a rare luxury in African colonial prisons. By 1924, the year in which the French built a new prison at Dakar, the overcrowding and promiscuity in Senegalese prisons had become a constant problem. This nature of penal buildings made communication between prisoners likely, thus jeopardizing surveillance, the most challenging task for prison supervisors and guards. In French Senegal, prisoners played on the inadequate quality of prison buildings to keep abreast of what was occurring outside by redefining communication to their benefits. In the process, they turned the colonial prison into an institution with no code of silence. This feature of the institution contradicted Goffman’s definition of total institutions but reinforced the colonial prison as a system of power. The level and extent of inmate communication within the colonial prisons in Senegal tell more about the quality of their architecture than their graphic and textual descriptions. This requires an analysis of communication, one that entails an investigation of how inmates exploited the inadequacy of the buildings. In the colonial prisons in Senegal, it proved very difficult to restrict communication. The evidence suggests that, in many prisons, concerns about that issue were valid, which explained why it was a recurring theme in letters between authorities and an embarrassment for prison officials who seemed powerless to do anything to stop it. Even in the prisons deemed more architecturally sound in their internal and external layout, like the prisons at Dakar and Saint-Louis, suppressing communication was a constant challenge. Actually, the frequency was much higher in those prisons defined by overcrowding. At the Dakar prison, six years after its opening in 1924, surveillance and security were crippled by frequent and unstoppable communication, which caught the attention of Delmas, the delegate of the government. He lamented in a letter to Governor Maillet the extent of the problem: “there is beyond a shadow of a doubt that illegal communication occurred between prisoners and natives in the city.”9 An investigation, he wrote, had found that “letters written by educated inmates were brought to the post office by prisoners assigned to outdoor works or by family members visiting loved ones.” Six detainees caught sending various items outside “were whipped and punished with twenty days of complete isolation and a half ration. Yet, letters are flanged over the wall of the prison, which is six meters high.” Del-



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mas urged Maillet to enforce prison rules in addition to elevating the wall of the prison and increasing the presence of guards inside the inspector corridor during the day and at night. By the late 1930s, inmate communication became so overwhelming that it provoked criticism of slack discipline and caused Paris to order an investigation of prison conditions in 1939. Colonial Inspector Carcassonne, commissioned for the task, urged the colonial government to build, for instance, a “perimeter of safety around the prison wall to curb communication with the outside and evasions and in the near future expand the prison using a nearby empty plot of land.”10 He admitted that the “promiscuity and the lack of space facilitated gift exchanges and traffic of any sorts between the prisoners”11 at the Dakar prison. His observations suggest that even the classic-model design and arrangement of the Dakar prison did not isolate inmates from each other and the outside world. At the Thìes prison, Carcassonne remarked that “for the prison to be worth its name, it is necessary to build a four meters wall to enclose the actual building to isolate inmates from the outside world because as soon as they come out the rooms, they are free. The arrangement of their quarters and proximity of the city enabled escapes.”12 In other prisons, architectural deficiencies made inmates not amenable to communication rules. In 1939, the head of the surveillance committee of the prison at Saint-Louis recommended the installation of wooden bars mainly on the windows of cells and dormitories that opened onto the inspection corridors wherein inmates managed to communicate with each other and to mail out letters to their families.13 In addition to causing disciplinary and security problems, communication was regarded as a source of moral contamination. In 1939, miles away from Saint-Louis and Dakar, at the prison at Kaolack, the large presence of dangerous inmates compelled the supervisor to limit their recess time in the courtyards because, in his words, “they plotted about anything.”14 His decision to curb recess time was sought as “the only way to prevent conspiracy to riot and improve surveillance.” This evidence shows that over the years, the authorities had grown frustrated with inmate communication. In 1943, Governor Deschamps crafted what seemed to be a practical solution to a difficult problem. In a letter, he urged all the commandants of cercles to pay more attention to prisons, contending that in most institutions, “the courtyards that surrounded the penal quarters are opened or fenced with thin barbed wires.”15 He insisted on increasing supervision in the workrooms, hallways, inspection corridors, and courtyards, which in his words “encouraged communication with the outside, often without prison officials knowing about it.” Prisoners had turned the spatial locations of surveillance—corridors, prison yards, gardens, hallways, workrooms, and prison walls—into spaces of communication characterized by illicit activity, smuggling of any sorts, and maneuvers.

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The architecture of the colonial prisons also shaped patterns of inmate communication with outside communities, raising more concerns for higher security inside and outside and a need for tougher discipline. Communication with the outside suggests that the physical boundaries of the colonial prisons were weakly and unclearly defined. In most prisons, the boundaries between inside and outside were not fixed because the colonial administration chose the cheapest way to build prisons. Communication-proof devices such as fences, enclosure walls, gates, barbed wires, lights, and watchtowers were missing or poorly installed, which implies the extent of communication. No prisons can exemplify the impact of the architecture and designs of the colonial prisons on patterns of communication with the outside more than the penal camps. The likelihood and the extent of communication were greater in the penal camps in part because their residents spent all day long working on public worksites and had the advantage of already establishing contacts with their surroundings. In part, this high possibility and extent flow from the fact that penal camps, unlike regular prisons, had neither permanent geographical demarcations nor physical boundaries. Set in the middle of nowhere, there was no distinction between inside and outside as the penal camps were wall- or fence-less. In rare cases, boundaries were achieved by the installation of thin barbed wires that paradoxically increased opportunity for communication by continuing to visually expose prisoners to the world outside. The 1939 textual descriptions of the Louga and Thiès penal camps are illustrations. In Louga, inmates were “confined in two metallic barracks, which were only surrounded by one range of barbed wires. The camp was cordoned off by paths used every day by the nearby residents combined with the darkness that it is plunged into at night due to the lack of electricity.” Inspector Moretti, who described it, also could not refrain from commentating about the kitchen of the camp, which was “located outside the camp in open field.”16 The largest of the “C” camps was designated for the most dangerous prisoners. This textual description of the Louga penal camp contradicts its graphic representation analyzed in chapter three, thereby supporting my argument that the available plans and drawings of the colonial prisons in Senegal might not represent their accurate views. In 1940, the director of the camp decided that it was necessary to place two additional rows of barbed wires to articulate more security. In contrast, the “A” Thiès penal camp, a makeshift building too, “had no boundaries whatsoever,” an architectural irregularity at the expense of safety that translated into “higher breaks during the raining season mainly when the bushes are thick” as Inspector Carcassonne noted.17 Adding to this ridiculous landscape of the penal camps was their architecture. Their quickly perishable and easily dismantled building materials resulted in crumbling and insecure buildings to oppose the movements of inmates. This outer-like atmosphere made inmates



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consider the penal camps as ordinary places where they could enter and leave whenever they wanted, causing me to label these institutions as the “shameful art of surveillance,”18 to borrow from Foucault. Their crumbling architecture won the penal camps the reputation as the prisons with the highest incidents of any kind, causing relentless disciplinary problems. In the camps, communication was the norm rather than the exception. Visiting the Louga penal camp in 1936, Inspector Monguillot denounced the unruliness of prisoners who turned the camp into a place of privilege and extortion: they were caught selling food supplies to villagers, roaming at night unsupervised, visiting their parents, or hanging out with dwellers.19 This was so evidenced that another investigation ordered in 1938 and headed by Quinquad, an inspector of Administrative Affairs, indicated that thefts were common as prisoners sold their supplies to village dwellers to finance escapees.20 A year later, Colonial inspector Lassalle-Séré, who toured the camp after a riot broke out, contended that every evening, five or six detainees were spotted spending time with friends, playing cards with dwellers, or getting a breath of air.21 However, the incident that tarnished the image of the Louga camp as a “dépôt de têtes dures,” thus fueling calls for an overhaul of the entire penal camp system, “was the aggression of a European woman and her ten-month-old baby by inmates who were roaming at night in the nearby town.”22 These multiple investigations commissioned by officials in Paris and Senegal encapsulated the chaotic world of the penal camps, therefore inciting Governor Parisot on January 7, 1939, to decree their reorganization with a stress on additional security. Communication seemed so normal that some prisoners gained and earned the trust of surrounding locals who widened the scope of communication by willingly tolerating and participating in it. Complicating matters, the shared experience of hardships under French rule created bonds between prisoners and nearby residents. For instance, in 1939, Diéméma Mboye, incarcerated at the Louga penal camp, moved his family to a village located three miles from the camp where a few of his relatives lived. While serving time, he fathered two children, aged one and four-year-old with his wife.23 The same year, Sarayane Faye, another inmate, spent days with his wife while a village dweller, whom he befriended, accommodated her.24 This attitude suggests tolerance and cooperation on the part of nearby communities and another dimension of communication as prisoners tasted family life, friendships, and other relationships while behind bars. Exploring communication helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of prison architecture in French Senegal. Even though the colonial prisons were not architecturally designed and built as true total institutions, the adjustments of their residents to prison life were comparable to those of

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inmates in Goffman’s study. In his seminal work, Asylums, Goffman argued that residents in asylums and prisons developed what he called secondary adjustments defined as “any habitual arrangement by which a member of an organization employs unauthorized means, or obtains unauthorized ends, or both, thus getting around the organization’s assumptions as to what he should do and get, hence what he should be.”25 These practices, he said, “together comprise what can be called the underlife of the institution.”26 In colonial Senegal, communication could be seen as part of prisoners’ strategies to adjust to prison life and suggests their assessment of the architectural quality of prisons. As they became increasingly aware of the architectural deficiencies of the institutions which held them, they exploited such deficiencies to their benefit. And by violating communication rules, they redefined imprisonment, reshaped the architecture of colonial prisons, and legitimized their poor quality. Thus, inmate redefinition of communication within the colonial prisons was a vital aspect of the meanings of their architecture. For colonial authorities frustrated with the state of prisons, the growth and extent of communication became evidence of their failures to build elaborated prisons and a confirmation of their saving-driven politics of prison construction and design. More frustrating was how the state of prisons crippled efforts to organize life behind bars. ORGANIZING AND LIVING LIFE IN THE COLONIAL PRISONS Prisons are spatial systems based on “spatial practices”27 that structure, control, and dictate the movements and activities of inmates around the clock. They require regulation and arrangement, implying the adoption of architecture that can allow an articulate and sound organization of prison life. The classification and separation of inmates, the spatial distribution and dimensions of rooms, and the control of penal spaces, altogether can be understood as part of regulating prison life. The nature of prison life in French Senegal was consistent with the quality of the architecture of its prisons, quality that raised a stir among prison officials. Throughout the colonial period, prison officials railed against the challenge to control, supervise, and discipline effectively inmates, and it was not difficult for them to associate these problems with the conditions of the prison facilities. They grumbled about their ill-considered designs and carelessly constructed architecture. For instance, their small dimensions, the result of economic frugality, remained their most striking features and embodied the repressiveness of the architecture of the colonial prisons in Senegal. Neither



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regular standards nor established principles for the capacity of prisons were set. In 1938, the 380 cubic meters, the total dimensions of dormitories at the Thiès prison, were deemed insufficient for the 80 inmates held there that year.28 Four years later, the prison consisted of 8 buildings of 4.70 × 4.6 × 2 meters in dimension. Extended to house 185 inmates, it mingled a maximum of 30 persons per building.29 In other prisons, it was usual to see the same numbers of prisoners sharing a cell designed for five or six persons. In 1939, at the prison at Dakar, Senegal’s largest penitentiary, inmates were confined in seven buildings after a new one had been added in 1937 to segregate Europeans from Africans. Built for 200 inmates, it sometimes received two or three times its normal capacity. In 1938 alone, the number of offenders convicted by the French, native, and military jurisdictions that came into the prison was estimated at 1,600 compared to 1,227 in 1937 and 1,180 in 1936. As of February 10, 1938, the Dakar prison housed 360 inmates, but it confined a maximum of 250 to 300 prisoners.30 Similarly, the Ziguinchor prison was comprised of seven rooms of 5 × 4 meters and one cell of 4.13 × 2.12 meters in dimension. With a net floor area of 144 meters and a volume air of 614 cubic meters, it crowded together 90 inmates without classification and separation. As prisons were filled up to their capacities, the small size of their buildings and the acute lack of space, became a headache for prison administrators and a subject of repetitive criticism from prison doctors, as they posed serious obstacles to the health and surveillance of inmates. Over the years, the authorities also blamed the difficulties in organizing the lives of prisoners on the architectural irregularities of prison buildings. They did not need to visit prisons to see that their inadequacies posed such difficulties; they needed only to look at their designs. In 1863, a committee discussing the construction project of a new prison in Dakar rejected the proposed plan because “the large number of openings recommended by hygienists encouraged escapes and required additional surveillance.”31 Their criticism was justified. In 1890, a few years after the prison was built, another committee looking into the increase of prison breaks blamed the situation on the small number of dormitories and their confusing arrangement. To ensure an effective observation of inmates, the commission suggested a new arrangement to be centered on the inspection corridors.32 When prisons started to scatter around the colony in the early part of the twentieth century, inspection corridors became a characteristic of their architectural layouts. Despite the presence of watchdogs and guards within those corridors, communication was unstoppable, as discussed above. As the colonial period progressed, correspondence and statements from prison officials continue to suggest that it was not the administrative procedures in the prisons but rather their architectural styles that disrupted the organization of prison life

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in Senegal. Their rectangular shape and internal layouts, which allowed large numbers of inmates to be jam-packed together, were deemed the root of the poor functionality of most prisons. Indeed, Inspector Monguillot was explicit in his assessment of prisons in Senegal. The failure of its penal system was due to the failure of the architecture of its prisons. It had become a failure of its policies of prison construction. By the time Monguillot visited Senegal in 1936, the French had already established over two-thirds of the colony’s thirty-three prisons, and they were an architectural disaster. He was very critical of their ill-arranged layouts. At the prison in Dakar, he decried the rectangular arrangement of quarters and their small size and number as the sources of the ineffective supervision of inmates and their impractical separation.33 Alike, he grumbled that the plan for extending the prison was improper for separating prisoners because it basically reproduced the previous rectangular layout. Convinced that the proper functionality of the institution could be achieved solely through a well-shaped and -built institution, Monguillot urged for a drastic redesigning of the Dakar prison on a disposition rayonnée, or radial layout, to allow an easy and efficient surveillance of prisoners and discourage any contact between them. At the Saint-Louis prison, he noticed a certain disorder, which he blamed on the indiscriminate mixing of prisoners in overcapped dormitories flanked with slightly barred windows where chatting and gift exchange took place. Three years later, the penitentiary services in Senegal were again on the radar of the colonial ministry, which followed up on Monguillot’s recommendations. It set up a commission of inquiry headed by Moretti and composed of Carcassonne and Lassale-Séré. These colonial inspectors applauded some of the changes brought to the institution such as the coordination of all prison affairs by one agency but insisted that the poor functionality of prisons owed much to their forms. By the mid-1930s, it was clear that the architecture of prisons was pitifully inadequate in the face of increasing numbers of inmates. For political reasons, the architecture was not suitable to French colonial penal ideologies, and as one of the main components of those ideologies, it was urgently in need of change. By restyling the colonial prisons to conform to Western technologies of architectural discipline, Monguillot articulated regularity, order, security, control, and the classification and separation of inmates in a chaotic prison environment. He decried the architecture of prisons in Senegal with the aim of changing the colonial government’s politics of prison construction. His recommendations also embodied Paris officials’ beliefs in panoptical designs as the ideal designs to put prisons in their African colonies on the right track. As such, he implied that only an architectural overhaul of the prisons would render the punishment of imprisonment effective in FWA. Some of Monguillot’s



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suggestions held the attention of authorities who took new steps to expand the prisons in Saint-Louis, Thiès, Foudiougne, Ziguinchor, and Diourbel, and to entirely rebuild the Kaolack prison as Inspector Lassalle-Sére commented when he toured and reported on the penitentiary services in 1939.34 This was a drop in the ocean compared to the magnitude of prison projects waiting to be approved or funded. Then again, the colonial authorities remained reluctant to embrace Monguillot’s “panoptic” suggestions. The Circumscription of Dakar refused to allocate the 38,000 francs needed to endow the Dakar prison with a disposition rayonée.35 This unwillingness also rested on the fact that authorities came “to admit that the colonial prisons could not be a perfect copy of the metropolitan as they were designed to receive different categories of individuals.”36 This statement made by Governor Oswald Durand in 1946, a decade after Monguillot’s visit, urging the commandants de cercles to check “the cleanliness of prisons, living conditions, and the diet of prisoners,” but to not try to establish “prisons models,” evidenced the failure of prison reform in French Senegal. Certainly, as the authorities realized it, the colonial prison was a not a perfect imitation of the metropolitan prison from which it was modeled because the model itself was an “impossible prison”37 with only a “promise of punishment.”38 In modeling the colonial prison in Senegal on a failed model, the French had unconsciously planted the seeds of its failure, putting pressure on wardens to ensure its proper functionality. Then again, supervisors, most of them with little to no knowledge of, or training in, manning prisons, complained repeatedly about the difficulty in classifying and separating inmates as required by the law. Although the 1841 Prison Act and subsequent decrees stipulated the classification of inmates accordingly to age, sex, and length of sentences, there were no efforts for separating men and women, youth and adults, old and new prisoners, or petty offenders from hardened ones because these regulations were far outweighed by significant political and economic calculations. As discussed in the previous chapter, the French had measured their prison policies in accordance with an assessment of their resources and needs and what was appropriate for African prisoners. In 1905, considering the type of a prison regime suitable for Senegal, Governor Antonetti recommended “mixed” prisons with civil and military quarters, which he believed were more “cost-effective and better suited for their needs.”39 The benefits with mixed prisons, he stressed, were “lower staff costs with the same guards supervising both civilian and military prisoners.” In a last call, he wrote: “there is no sense of urgency to spend big money to classify prisoners into three categories consistently to the Decree of 2 November 1902.” The suppression of the two martial courts in Senegal, formerly established in Saint-Louis and Dakar, subjected the military to the regular courts and entrusted them into the

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regular prisons with common law inmates. Because mixed prisons emphasized the civil status of prisoners, not age, sex, or criminal status, the likelihood that hardened adult offenders, whether men or women, would school young offenders in vice and crime, was real. The enactment of the Indigénat Code, which placed a great deal of police power in the hands of the commandants de cercles, further disrupted the organization of prison life. From 1887 until its abolition in 1946, another group of offenders was entrusted to the prisons: the disciplinaires, literally classified as administrative prisoners. Rather than being confined in separate quarters as befitted their status, they were mingled indifferently with common law prisoners due to the lack of space. Equally difficult for prison supervisors was the impossibility to enforce regulations that stipulated “female detainees should be kept in separate quarters”40 arguably required to avoid any contacts with male inmates. Although gender remained a determinant factor in imprisonment patterns in colonial Senegal, it was not one in the architecture and design of prisons. At any given time, imprisonment rates for men were higher, but there were quite a number of women behind bars. Among women inmates, the lack and inadequacy of prison buildings were even more pronounced and was evident across the colony. The fundamental characteristic of the incarceration of women was the complete absence of a separate prison for them during the entire colonial period. I became interested in the history of prison architecture in Senegal as I investigated the detention conditions of female prisoners of all ages, an investigation that had revealed that the difference of life experience between male and female prisoners was apparent in their accommodation. Colonial memos describe female quarters using terms such as “room,” “kitchen,” “veranda,” or “pantry,” and authorities intervened only when women’s detention conditions became very desperate. Their overall conditions were terrible. However, it was most obvious with nursing mothers who ran a higher risk of overcrowding as they and their children slept in one bed. The dire detention conditions prompted the administration to propose a penal reform in August 1944 anchored around the construction of new prisons to improve the quality of prison life. The reform stipulated that the new prisons “should have special wards for female detained with larger cells (2 square meters per inmate) since some of them are incarcerated with young children.”41 As noted previously, the reform was never implemented. Adult female prisoners were not alone in suffering poor living conditions. Young ones were too. Although their separation from adult female offenders was strongly urged, it was never enforced, nor was there a separate prison designated to them. Similarly, there were no quarters for young female delinquents in any of the penitentiary schools simply because, in the mind of the colonial authorities, the delinquent was masculine. Paradoxically in



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1939, the director of the prison at Saint-Louis confined two young male offenders convicted of theft with female prisoners in the same room, according to Inspector Lassalle Séré who described the cohabitation as less dangerous compared to adult male prisoners, but found it awkward.42 African men and women, young and adults, petty and hardened criminals mingled together, but not with Europeans. While the legislation created mixed prisons, additional legislation enforced racial segregation, further confusing the organization of prison life in the colonial era. The only valid and essential separation was that of blacks from whites, a reality validated by the enforcement of two distinct prison regimes. In 1929, the colonial government overhauled the prison system, which in the process created a dual system of prisons: prisons des cercles that housed the bulk of natives and prisons under the jurisdiction of French courts, which quartered Europeans and French citizens. This distinction was confirmed by two decrees. The first one, Decree 478 of February 29, 1929, dictated the administration of prisons under the command of French courts.43 It delineated the rules, functions, and the regime of the prisons in Dakar, Saint-Louis, Kaolack, and Ziguinchor. Because of the racial or political and civil status of their populations, these four prisons received the largest portion of prison budgets.44 Likewise, Decree 479 of February 29, 1929, laid down the principles that ruled the prisons des cercles. Prior to this, these institutions remained the most unorganized prisons as Bernard, president of the Private Council, admitted. According to him, “except two local decrees issued on December 1907 and September 1909, which respectively fixed the diet of prisoners and required their registration, no true legislation defined the regime of the prisons de cercles.”45 This implies again that in the organization of prison life in French Senegal, only race seemed to matter. On August 3, 1929, another decree reorganized the regime of the prison in Dakar46 in conformity with the status of the city as a separate political and administrative entity from the colony of Senegal and under the authority of the governor-general of FWA. Although the 1929 acts reformed the regime of prisons on the pattern of new classifications, which for instance, divided prisoners in the cercles into five categories, the massing and indiscriminate association of inmates remained an enduring obstacle to the organization of prison life, an extremely evident reality. Ten years after the restructuring of the Dakar prison, Inspector Carcassonne discovered that “offenders serving different sentences were confined together in common quarters.”47 Rather than easing the separation of prisoners in the Dakar prison, the Decree of August 3, 1929, complicated it instead by dividing inmates into seven confusing categories based on race (blacks and whites), age (young and adults), social status (natives or indigenes), civil status (assimilated or Originaires, subjects and citizens), class

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(military), sex (men and women), and judicial status (guilty, accused, or condemned). Therefore, the Dakar prison was a multifunctional institution that served as a house of arrest, a house of justice, and a maison disciplinaire, which contrasts the designation as a maison centrale for which it was built in 1924. The decree failed to take the length of sentences (short and long sentences) and seriousness of crimes (dangerous, forçats, recidivists, relégues, primary, and hardened offenders) as ruling considerations in the classification of inmates, a reality that struck Carcassonne who decried the lack of provisions “to isolate primary offenders from the chevaux de retour.”48 At the prison in Saint-Louis, his colleague, Inspector Lassalle-Séré, made the same observation. He applauded the grouping of prisoners into five categories as ordered by the new decrees but insisted that the separation of petty criminals from hardened ones was yet to be fulfilled.49 The 1929 decrees proved controversial and unsustainable because they stipulated no provisions for architectural modifications, renovations, or extensions of the existing prisons to go hand-in-hand with the new classification system. Throughout much of the colonial period, the organization of prison life in French Senegal was being furthered obscured by the fact that the colonial prison was a place for people who were not, strictly speaking, inmates. As such, the prison performed multiple functions, being a place of punishment for offenders, to quarantines for tuberculosis patients, lepers, and the mentally ill whose transfer to psychiatric hospitals in France was prohibitively expensive. The difference between a prisoner, a mentally ill person, and a leper or between crime, insanity, and disease, is enormous. From the moment they were all confined together, the distinction between their confinement experiences was blurred. This varied use of the colonial prison in French Senegal is not unique, nor is it surprising. For instance, at the civil hospice in Saint-Louis in 1861, Alain Sinou contends that the sick, prisoners, mentally ill, and women suffering from venereal diseases, were all jam-packed together.50 Organizing prison life in colonial Senegal was a torment but living it was too. The defective architecture of the colonial prisons also left a stamp on the quality of life within the prisons. For most prisoners, detention conditions were punishment by another name. Imprisonment in colonial Senegal begat conditions that took a toll on prisoners. Filth, squalor, and vermin defined most of the prisons and remained a big concern for prisoners, but not for the authorities who raised it endlessly and failed to solve it. Over the years, prison conditions deteriorated instead of improving and were felt in every type of prison and all over the colony. With the exception of the Saint-Louis prison established in 1863 on the banks of the Senegal river and the Dakar prison established in 1924 a few feet from the Atlantic Ocean, exposing both facilities to prevalent breezes, most prisons



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were badly built on unhealthy sites. With fissured walls, floors, and roofs due to such unhealthiness, prisoners had to fight bugs, rodents, and vermin. Invoking his visit to the Matam prison in 1924, Inspector Villeneuve recounted being “shocked by the extent of vermin and bedbug infestation on the walls and floors of the prison.”51 In 1939, inmates in the prison of Ziguinchor used fire to clean their bug-ridden beds and bedding.52 Miles away and years later, inmates in the Saint-Louis prison used the same techniques,53 validating the use of heat as the best antidote to the epidemic vermin and bug infestation that plagued the colonial prisons. The bugs and the vermin, however, always came back. Nowhere was this filth more noticeable and shocking than at the penal camps. These institutions were the epitome of the misery of imprisonment in French Senegal. In 1942, the Louga camp director, who lived off-site in fear of prisoners with whom he had little contact, was stunned by the large population of worms that infested the dormitory floors and ate inmates’ flesh.54 Worse yet, the prisoners were exposed to rain and wind because the canopies that covered the windows of their penal quarters were in bad condition. During the rainy season, water quickly flooded into the skylights, soaking the beds and bedframes by the windows. One could go on and on with negative examples. These are stark details, disturbing in their architectural materiality. No extension, renovation, repair, whitewashing, and the pouring of crésyl, a sanitizer, into rooms and dormitories as recommended by prison officials could conceal these horrible detention conditions. Such was the chaotic world of prisoners in colonial Senegal. Discipline became problematic in a widespread and unstoppable illicit communication and inadequate buildings. Yet, significant attempts were made to treat inmates’ bodies. PRISON DISCIPLINE IN COLONIAL SENEGAL: TARGETING BODIES, NOT SOULS Since the publication of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, some forty years ago, a large amount of scholarship has explored the prison in Europe and North America as a powerful machine for curing the souls of inmates. A “post-Foucauldian” generation of historians has also begun to investigate the complexities of imprisonment in the European colonies of Africa, Asia, and Latin-America without losing sight of Foucault’s arguments. That is to say, it is very difficult to study modern imprisonment in any place and easily escape to Foucault’s power-knowledge approach, which is quite convincing. As a member of the post-Foucauldian generation of historians, I focus on the dialectic between prison architecture and punishment in French Senegal with Foucault in mind, but with no intention to repeat him. Instead, I

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would like to use his work to draw attention to the uniqueness of the colonial prisons and the disciplinary practices that unfolded within those institutions. In his discussion of modern disciplinary technology, Foucault contends that the “classic age discovered the body as an object and a target of power.”55 According to him, “what was being formed was a policy of coercion that acts upon the body, a calculated manipulation of its elements, its gestures, its behaviour. The human body was entering a machinery of power that explores it, breaks it down and rearranges it.” Thus, Foucault defined discipline as “an art of the human body” and “a political anatomy of detail”56 that paid attention not only to the whole body but also to its individual movements and gestures. Discipline, he argued, was intended to produce what he called “docile” bodies57 that obey, respond, become skillful, and increase their forces.58 These “power-knowledge” disciplinary practices became generalized in schools, armies, hospitals, factories, and prisons but required specific architecture. As Foucault contended, these disciplinary practices developed “an architecture (that) would operate to transform individuals: to act on those it shelters, to provide a hold on their conduct, to carry the effects of power right to them, to make it possible to know them, to alter them.”59 Did the French apply similar disciplinary practices in Senegal? What did discipline mean and what kinds of disciplinary practices developed in colonial prisons? To what degree did their architecture shape, ameliorate, or alter such discipline? How the French in Senegal defined discipline was different than how they implemented it in their colonial prisons. The root of the problem lies largely in the alleged mission of the colonial prison and the conception of imprisonment in Senegal. The importance of imprisonment to the French authorities in Senegal was clear the moment they established the first prison in 1820, three years after they recaptured the territory. However, they never clearly defined the true mission of prisons, which gave imprisonment in Senegal a less explicit orientation. Despite the vast network of prisons built during the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, imprisonment tradition focused on putting simply away offenders without any other concerns about them. This neglect is no doubt linked to the historical context in which the French annexed and pacified unstable territories and faced continuous challenges to their shaky rule. In this context of political, social, and economic turmoil, the French put prisons and prisoners to some extent at the bottom of their list of priorities. In the late 1920s onward, however, they started to focus more on these institutions after recognizing that, with the increasing numbers of prisoners, it had become imperative to pay attention to the prison system. As noted above, in 1929, the colonial government passed new legislation that provided a framework for a reorganization of the regime of prisons in the colony. Meanwhile, these late changes became manifest in the 1930s, during



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which time France investigated detention conditions in its possessions and seriously considered prisons as solutions to the colonies’ inconsistent penal policies. This positive move for change was spearheaded by Colonial Minister Moutet. Portrayed as “a critic of repression overseas,” Moutet “genuinely meant to bring the fruits of French Civilization to the colonies”60 through judicious reform programs. It was in this context of a commitment to reform that the first major efforts to reorganize the prison systems in the French colonies emerged. Moutet sent inspectors on missions to survey the penal institutions and practices. By and large, their disturbing findings attracted his attention and set the stage for a much-needed prison overhaul, which, in the process, urged for stronger control of prison affairs by the different colonial governments in West Africa. Penal policies in Senegal did not escape scrutiny in the context of this farreaching prison overhaul. Failures to implement coherent programs of prison construction over the years, together with increasing numbers of inmates confined in crumbling facilities, led to a penitentiary crisis that was apparent by the 1930s and embodied in the depiction of prisons as simply la chose pénitentaire. Responses to the crisis crystalized in the period during and after the visit of Inspector Monguillot, who used such words to express the extent of disarray in Senegalese prisons. He was explicit in his assessment of the failure of the institution. The crisis of the penal system had become a larger policy crisis. Armed with the same critical mind as Monguillot, Pléven echoed his colleague’s assessment of the failure of Senegal’s prison system. Commissioned to draft a proposal to overhaul it, Pléven wrote in 1944: “we have to keep in mind that the prison, like school and army populations, remains one collectivity upon which our administration could easily exercise a function of education.”61 Based upon these statements, the authorities perceived the prison as a social service and alongside the school and army as namely a place to educate Africans. In other words, they represented the colonial prison as progress. That said they attempted at bringing its mission in line with the cultural and social values of the colonial society, and, given their supposed civilizing mission, this may have been simply a form of moral and paternalistic justification of the widespread use of imprisonment. By drawing parallels between the prison, the school, and the army to educate Africans, the French redefined the colonial prison from a place of punishment to a place of education, thus casting the establishment of prisons in colonial Africa in terms of an imperial mission. However, inmates were not in school and the military and were not treated as students or soldiers. Furthermore, they were confined in much different institutions with different activities, rights, and privileges than that of students and soldiers. This conceptualization of the colonial prison, which encapsulated an era of new

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prison policies, was the result of the growing admission of guilt among the French of their total failure in rehabilitating prisoners after a long tradition of imprisonment in Senegal. A period of 116 years had elapsed between the time the French opened the first prisons in 1820 and Monguilot’s 1936 visit in Senegal. During all that time, little to no progress had been made toward the rehabilitation of prisoners. The only legislation that clearly touched upon the issue was the Decree of August 14, 1883, that stipulated and regulated parole in the colony. It emphasized the moral reform of inmates under the control of the Prison Surveillance Committees created by an 1882 local decree and modified in 1888 to extend the duties of its members. Consisting of an attorney, a doctor, a police chief, a Public Works engineer, and a city representative, these committees were charged with the responsibility of addressing all issues involving inmates and relating to their incarceration, including their rehabilitation. Meanwhile, they existed only in the cities and larger prisons. The 1929 decrees that overhauled the prison system by articulating new patterns of classifications stressed only the moral improvement of minors and petty offenders. The crisis of the penal system in Senegal had also become a crisis of the mission of the colonial prison. What led Monguillot to stress the social value of the colonial prison and Pleven to emphasize its educational rationale rested on Monguilot’s statement that “the purpose of prisons for moral education is no longer effective and efforts to rehabilitate inmates are completely absent in our prisons.’’62 His statement ignited a desire to give prisons the required attention and better develop prisoners through education that promoted moral reformation. Monguillot was supported by the criticisms of another colonial inspector, Moretti. Commissioned to inspect prisons in FWA in 1939, Moretti echoed his colleague, calling for new steps in the social rehabilitation of prisoners.63 Then again, he made clear that it entailed “a modernization of prisons and the extension of existing institutions to prevent the indiscriminate association of prisoners that incited unruliness and crippled the rehabilitation of prisoners.” Overall, he complained that “prisons in FWA were ill-arranged and it was quite impossible to separate petty offenders from hardened criminals.”64 Like Monguillot who proposed panoptical designs and layouts as effective and necessary to reform African inmates, thereby praising the power of architecture to discipline prisoners, Moretti also believed that the rehabilitation of prisoners in FWA should be based on the principles of modern imprisonment: surveillance, classification, separation, and discipline, all occurring in tandem. These Western-inspired prison organizations and architectural modifications that encapsulated the notions of reform articulated by the colonial authorities were to give the colonial prison its real purpose, one of education for Africans. In this climate of recommendations and criticisms,



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the factors which in the end hindered the rehabilitation of prisoners in FWA, were the nature and quality of prison buildings. In the colonial prisons, surveillance, classification, separation, and discipline did not occur simultaneously, each not existing or lacking because of their inadequate buildings. Isolation, separation, and the organization of work that sustained discipline in the Foucauldian approach were unattainable in French Senegal’s prisons. Discipline, in Foucault’s terms, required a control of time, space, and bodies to “make” individuals, to “normalize” them and to “assist” the process of transformation.65 Thus, the application of Foucault’s model of discipline based on power, knowledge, and architecture to prisons in French Senegal is fraught with tensions and complexities that became apparent in their architectural layouts and the organization of prison life, thus suggesting that in colonial Africa, prisons were places of confinement, not of reformation. Architecturally, discipline was impossible in the colonial prisons because it was never formulated in their buildings. The environment created by their irregularity did not prevent prisoners from idleness. In the majority of prisons, there were no provisions, workshops, or facilities for educating, and thereby occupying inmates, a fact that contradicted the conception of the prison as a place of education. Despite “the presence of miradors or watchtowers for a panoptical, constant surveillance of courtyards”66 and efforts to confine inmates in western-inspired prisons, like the 1906 Thiès panoptical prison, which was never built, the architecture of prisons in French Senegal rarely articulated the organization of prison life with isolation and silence. Moreover, such architecture cannot be placed under the umbrella of the panopticon because Florence Bernault reminds us that “penal architectures in the colonies were not envisioned as a therapeutic device.”67 As the architecture of the colonial prisons in Senegal did not carry with it a commitment to discipline inmates, the French deployed disciplinary practices anchored around the construction of the African prisoner. CIVILIZING THE AFRICAN PRISONER: DISCIPLINE IN THE COLONIAL PRISONS As I aim to capture the essence of prison discipline in French Senegal, I contend that the key of this issue lies in the civilizing power of the colonial prison. Although colonial prisons accommodated Europeans, there is one obvious element regarding discipline in these institutions that makes it unique and, thus, worthy of special consideration: the recipients are still, by definition, Africans with all they signified. The construction of the African

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prisoner, built around negative stereotypes and prejudices drawn from the character of the native populations in Senegal, permeated disciplinary practices in the colonial prisons. At the heart of those practices lay the assumption that the African prisoner, because of his criminal acts as proof of his savagery, was somebody who needed and deserved punishment. As such, African prisoners were the embodiment of who the French thought they were. This stereotyping was part of the broader mechanism of discipline developed by Europeans in their African colonies. The descriptive words associated with the colonized are particular in their focus. The labeling of Africans as savage by nature, an enduring stereotype, found a new application in the colonial prisons where it provided the underpinning to cast a profile of the African prisoner. Equally important in the construction of the African prisoner was the conviction that he was inclined to criminality. Parallel to this line of assumptions was the constructed image of the African prisoner as innately deviant, criminal, and vicious, behaviors which were evidence of his inherent savagery as well. The portrayal of Africans as people who observed low standards of morality and self-restraint led to the transfer to Africa of Western discourses on the degeneration of criminals. Colonial authorities quickly embraced those discourses to conceptualize Africans as potential criminals. According to Florence Bernault, “for many colonizers, Africans were potential criminals.”68 In other words, they anticipated criminality in the treatment of African offenders. These assumptions, which lend a certain political justification for the use of imprisonment, imply that prison discipline in French Senegal reached well beyond the realm of punishment. Basically, African prisoners were punished for offenses they had committed or were wrongly convicted of and for what they were portrayed as: vicious and savage children criminals. These beliefs also suggest that reformation could only be offered to “inmates susceptible to be amended” and those “willing to cooperate,” but any prisoners “suffering from primitivism,” of “low mentality,” or deemed brutes, fortes têtes, or mauvais sujets were excluded from the benefits of reformation. That prisoners in colonial Senegal were subjected to a range of representations was undoubted. These remarks, which encompassed a range of disorders and behaviors constructed by colonial officials to criminally profile prisoners, followed the spirit of Lombroso’s theory of born criminal ideas and the growing popularity of ideas on racial and biological inferiority within the colonial circles in FWA.69 They filled prison reports over the years as prison officials strongly convinced that Africans were innately criminals, tried to find a link between physical traits, behavior, and crime. Moreover, colonial stereotypes of some ethnic groups as rebellious permeated the construction of the African prisoner. Prison supervisors labeled



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inmates from some ethnic groups as unruly. Prisoners in French Senegal were portrayed in the language of ethnicity. In other words, imprisonment was ethnicized as evidenced by the director of the prison in Thiès who bluntly proclaimed: “The large ethnic diversity of the prisoners prevents me from controlling the prison.”70 In a letter to the governor of Senegal, he requested additional staff to better man the institution, claiming that the “Wolof and the Tukulor were a particular problem.” These two ethnic groups developed a strong rebellious reputation, as they clashed with the French during the conquest and pacification of Senegal. The language of the prison director recalled the kinds of statements the French used when their military engaged these groups. All these assumptions, which illustrated a rhetoric of imprisonment casted in terms of ethnicity, criminal degeneration, savagery, and biological and racial inferiority, influenced the meanings that the French infused into the word discipline in colonial Senegal. Ultimately, they set the stage for the type of discipline the African prisoner deserved and validated it. To construct the African prisoner was to stigmatize, label, and profile; this was the frame in which discipline in the colonial prisons in Senegal found its foundation. Because the African prisoner was defamed as a potential criminal due to his savagery, his image, manners, characters, habits, and crime had to be corrected through disciplinary practices that targeted his body, the vessel in which all these elements blended together. Targeting the body of prisoners became the favored choice of discipline for the French in Senegal who, because of the unstable nature of their rule, had to reaffirm their insecure authority and domination through the use of physical punishment. This implies that the application of Foucault’s body/mind approach to discipline in French Senegal is also charged with tensions that became evident with the construction of the African prisoner, revealing the altruism that supported the French’s colonial rhetoric of civilization. In contrast to nineteenth-century France, prison discipline in French Senegal suggests a somewhat different dynamic. Imprisonment as a punishment was in reality conceptualized to be experienced and felt. The main concern was for prisoners to remember the desired effects of punishment the idea being “that child-like people needed to be schooled and disciplined with physical force.”71 This conception supported physical punishment confirmed in disciplinary practices “limited to the body” with “no attempt to reach the native’s soul” to equate Florence Bernault.72 That is to say that prison discipline in colonial Africa was not designed to transform prisoners but to correct what was wrong with them so they would become the abiding subjects that French colonizers expected them to be. Extremely significant politically, it was colonial in orientation, with a stress on civilizing the African prisoner. For that reason, prison discipline had much in common with the mechanisms

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of disciplinary surveillance deployed elsewhere by Europeans in institutions other than prisons or directed toward demographic groups not necessarily prisoners in their colonies. A large cross-discipline literature has investigated how Europeans lay emphasis on the “body” of the colonized. Anupama Rao and Steven Pierce argue that “the body of the colonized was a critical site both for maintaining colonial alterity and enacting colonial governance.”73 Furthermore, “it was available for the affliction of pain as an important form of political control.”74 Using the phrase, “colonize the body” to capture this form of governmentality in the European colonies, David Arnold holds similar arguments contending that “colonialism used or attempted to use the body as a site for the construction of its own authority, legitimacy, and control.”75 In colonial India, he posits, the British “built up an enormous battery of text and discursive practices that concerned themselves with the physical being of the colonized.”76 In White Supremacy and Black Resistance, Clifton Crais discussed the “colonization of the body with a related and entwined history of the colonization of the minds”77 in the making of a colonial order in the Eastern Cape. These studies make a powerful argument for the association of colonialism, power, and the bodies of the colonized. However, in his study on phrenology in colonial South Africa, Andrew Bank reminds us that the ‘”developing colonial discourse of surveillance should not obscure the extent to which the practice of power and punishment continued to exemplify quite direct and brutal disciplining of the African body.”78 Instead of emphasizing the moral improvement and social reformation of inmates, prison discipline in Senegal rather reversed course, attacking the morals and characters of the African prisoner by targeting his body. But one should bear in mind that there was considerable diversity of disciplinary practices consistent with the categories of prisons and the types of prisoners they serviced. Discipline in the Penal Camps: Slavery by Another Name Not only was the significance of prison discipline in colonial Senegal different, but its nature was too. As the prison populations were wide-ranging, multilayered disciplinary approaches were put into action, some concentrating on prisoners in the penal camps and district prisons, others on young offenders in the penitentiary schools. However, in all these institutions, the emphasis on physical punishment and work were obvious. In Senegal, the French sought to rehabilitate and discipline African prisoners through work similar to what was done in France. Yet, approaches that defined prison labor in metropolitan prisons differed from what was expected from inmates in Senegal. Nineteenth-century prison reformers in Europe had recognized



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the therapeutic aspects of work for having more positive effects than excessive punishment and had praised its valuable benefits to better rehabilitate prisoners. France was not immune to such ideas as it was the epicenter of the reformist penal movement. Patricia O’Brien argues that in nineteenth-century France, “the idea of reformers was a prison system that would isolate inmates from society while immersing them in a rehabilitative regime of work, education, and discipline.”79 The emphasis, she argues, was put on “productive labor as the most important component of the rehabilitative regime.”80 These reformist ideas and preoccupations never concerned the French in Senegal, which implies that the purpose of prison labor in colonial Senegal was never reformative. Rather, it was economic, as illustrated by the penal camp system. In penal camps, discipline was doled out to demonstrate physical discipline through hard labor. Alongside the legislation that stipulated their creation as itinerant work sites in the early 1930s, more laws passed later that decade suggested penal camps be reorganized into one large camp to group the bulk of their populations composed mainly of inmates serving long sentences, dangerous criminals, recidivists, réclusionaires, forçats, and relégues. All these categories were branded as fortes têtes and brutes.81 With such strong labeling, the penal camps were defined by a severe regime of discipline colony-wide and their residents were more likely to receive harsher and greater discipline than inmates in other prisons. The means employed by wardens in disciplining penal camp prisoners were horrible in the extreme. The evidence, which suggests that this was the case, provides a chilling list of physical methods used against those prisoners. Penal camp residents did diverse excavation tasks in the mines and road sites at a constant pace for more than twelve hours a day and only received short breaks. They engaged in long, rough, and exhausting labor. At the “A” Thiès penal camp, for instance, each prisoner had to dig out ten cubic meters of basalt or stone a day.82 A system of starvation completed this regime of tough discipline. Prisoners who refused to work were isolated in punitive cells and put on a water and bread regime until they showed signs of bonne conduite (good behavior) and bonne volonté (good attitude). But the most common punishment for refusal to work was the bain de vapeur (steam bath), which consisted of locking a prisoner in an overheated tiny cell with no openings for hours.83 This practice divested the bodies of inmates of their humanity. The steam bath punishment was so harsh that it caught the attention of Inspector of Administrative Affairs Lasse-Sére who visited the camp in 1939. In short, he suggested to camp guards that “prisoners be allowed to stay outside half of the day by tying them in the shade of a tree so that they neither lay nor sit down comfortably. But they would have at least the possibility to get some air and be ready for another night of torture.”84 Torture, the word said it all: the penal camps were torture chambers whether inmates were

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disobedient or not. Surprisingly, colonial authorities admitted that “labor in the penal camps was backbreaking,”85 but believed that it was “appropriate for the residents of the camps and pertinent to their moral reformation if there is really a reason for reformation.” It was not only the harsh regime of work that left indelible marks on the bodies of prisoners, but also the shackles, whips, fetters, and sticks. In 1920, Governor Levêque banned the use of chains on prisoners, contending it contradicted the French civilizing mission.86 The ban was never enforced because, in reality, the civilizing mission was suspect. Ten years later, Governor Beurnier penned a letter to all the commandants de cercles, which illustrated this doubt. He insisted that “if prisoners must be treated humanely, we should on no account show any signs of weakness that let them or the local populations think that we are powerless.”87 This statement validated the continued use of chains until 1936 when Inspector Monguillot urged for their complete ban. The colonial administration followed suit by repealing the provisions that allowed it, but not without admitting that “it had facilitated the surveillance of the dangerous prisoners who would be left in idleness.”88 Despite the ban, chains, shackles, whips, fetters, and sticks were widely used, exposing prisoners to more bodily harm. “While during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, corporal punishment was slowly abandoned in Europe in favor of punishment,”89 it became the norm in colonial Africa where Europeans openly and largely resorted to it for any purposes. Alongside capital punishment, its most violent manifestation, was flogging, its most widespread form which “was conceived as a necessary adjunct to colonial governance.”90 In his study of flogging in British Africa, David Killingray argued that “physical pain was regarded as salutary means as dealing with offence.”91 The evidence reveals that penal camps in French Senegal used a slave work type of organization. Work was regulated to the tune of shackles and fetters on the feet of inmates working in chain gangs on roads and mines while it started and ended with the cracks of whips and sticks on their backs. This suggests that the slave-like treatment of inmates found in the very first prisons, which during that time had caused an uproar among prisoners and local leaders leading to an investigation of prison abuses as early as 1836 as discussed in chapter one, had survived in the penal camps. A prisoner who refused to work was shackled and beaten until he showed signs of bonne volonté and bonne conduite. As proof, in 1942, the guards who manned the penal camp at Kelle near Louga were given new whips to use on prisoners to maximize their productivity.92 They executed such orders, leaving on the bodies of prisoners the evidence that they actually did. I have noticed during my visits signs of bruises that resulted from whipping. Until now, I never talked about it because I see that the camp houses bad individuals



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whose unwillingness to work sometimes made the guards furious. I think that anybody who finds himself in this awkward situation would resort to whips.93

So wrote the doctor of the camp who admitted the use of whips, but justified it by claiming that “the experience shows that the fear of reprisal was the only means to compel prisoners to work.” Actually, “the fear of reprisal” is suggestive of much more than compelling prisoners to work. It exemplified how physical discipline was administered to increase their productivity. The said doctor’s report was followed by an investigative report on the Kelle penal camp completed the same year. The report gave ample evidence of the excessive use of whips and the assault on the bodies of inmates: there were wounds and lesions on their legs, shoulders, arms, and backs of half of them. Worse yet, the harsh physical discipline robbed prisoners of everything, leaving nothing more than poorly nourished, shattered, drained, overworked, and soulless bodies susceptible to sickness and disease, fundamentally equating penal camps to death camps. The colonial penal camp was the African prisoner’s grave. Morbidity and mortality were high in extreme. Prisoners succumbed to the ravages of the disease-ridden environment of the camps, poor diet, and the tough regime of work. At the Kelle camp, the average number of sick prisoners rose from 4 patients a day when it opened in 1941 to 19 daily after three months of operation. That year, 23 prisoners died, of which 19 within a six-month period. A year later, 32 deaths occurred, turning the Kelle camp into a graveyard for inmates who were worked to death.94 Such a death rate is even more astonishing given the camp’s maximum capacity of 150 prisoners. Two years prior when the camp was located at Ndande, a few miles from Kelle, the number of sick prisoners was so high that the doctor turned down patients. The predominant focus on physical discipline in the penal camps was further reinforced by the manipulation and use of the word forçat (convicts). The word replaced the term galèriens (galley slaves) after France suppressed the galleys and means imprisonment with hard labor. It first appeared in the colonial prison lexicon in 1863 when the French labeled the new Saint-Louis prison as the bagne of Saint-Louis consistent with its maritime location, the hard-labor sentences of most of its pensioners, and in line with its metropolitan counterparts of Toulon, Brest, and Roquefort. But the word forçat took on new meanings when the French authorities created the penal camps in 1931 as itinerant bagnes except their locations were roadways instead. Over the years, penal camps were filled with supposedly forçats, although from 1931 on, the number of hard labor sentences was low as stated by Colonial Inspector Moretti. Pushing for greater productivity in the camps, Moretti urged prison officials to classify any inmates sentenced to long terms as forçats, not to hard labor only. In other words, a long-sentence inmate had come to mean

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a forçat with all it signified. This new classification allowed the colonial administration to transfer any inmates sentenced even to three-month prison terms to penal camps, all as a measure to increase their populations in the face of increasing demand for labor on public work sites. Physical violence was an extension of legal provisions established to obtain and maintain discipline in penal camps. One might posit that the nature of offenses committed by the penal camp residents is especially suggestive of the tough physical discipline applied in these institutions. However, there may be the fact that the creation of penal camps being thoroughly a component of the forced labor system; as discussed in chapter two, discipline could only be attained by work. I suggest that the colonial state’s extensive demand for labor combined with a complex internal conjuncture of economic instability and widespread use of imprisonment gave discipline in the penal camps its corporeal character. Discipline in the “Prisons des Cercles”: Fighting Idleness and Enforcing Hygiene There is no doubt that physical discipline took place in the district prisons, or prisons des cercles, but the stress on work persisted. Fundamental to the organization of labor in the district prisons was the portrayal of African inmates. The method of discipline through work proved to be enduring because at the core of how the African prisoner was profiled was also the constructed image of Africans as lazy and useless people who had developed an aversion to work. Laziness was considered a badge of criminality. Colonial attitudes about the laziness of Africans are best expressed in a report of the Surveillance Committee of the Dakar prison, which in August 1888, evoked a letter written a year earlier by the under secretary of the Minister of the Marine and Colonies urging administrators to keep prisoners away from the danger of excessive laziness.95 Committee members felt that Africans were lazy by nature, so they advocated a more effective use of Senegalese prisoners. Like their Asian counterparts, they would manufacture cheap goods. They claimed that Africans “managed to be arrested, sent to prisons and taken care of without having to work.” This statement encapsulated beliefs that Africans welcomed prisons due to the many advantages offered to them while behind bars. Fast forward forty-two years, and we catch a glimpse of such beliefs in a letter sent to the governor of Senegal by Lucas, commandant of the cercle of Sine-Saloum in 1930. Lucas wrote: “I think that increasing the wages of prisoners might be a good reward that would draw more people to prisons.” That this referred to some specific groups became clear when he added that it would draw “the homeless, jobless, and vagabonds knowing they will get



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jobs, food, and money,”96 reinforcing the colonial administration’s target of these groups. Only inmates who served time in the prisons under the jurisdiction of the French courts received work wages. Six years later, Inspector Monguillot pushed to extend wages to all prisoners, which became a reality by 1939. Prison wages were not introduced to reward good behavior, but to bring more people into prisons. The belief that Africans were lazy by nature furthers the interpretation of the French’s conflation of criminality with laziness, as discussed in chapter two. Enforcing the laziness etiquette and exploiting the survival needs of the native populations, actions fueled by sarcastic discourse on prison labor, the French believed that prisoners should be made to learn about work. They also argued that Africans should be exposed to new working habits since many of them landed intentionally in prisons. As early as of January 23, 1827, the French established the maisons centrales, or central houses, with the aim of transforming prisons in Senegal into industrial units in accordance with the French metropolitan legislation on penal labor, thereby turning prison labor into a high priority. Over the years, the legislation on prison labor had changed tremendously. The 1841 Prison Act brought more regulations making, for instance, work mandatory for all slaves sentenced to prison terms and their employment in colonial public services. An additional decree, which appeared on July 21, 1860, added measures to approve the use of inmates in public works while the Decree of March 14, 1882, subjected prisoners to an 11-hour work shift (8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.) with a two-hour break. As discussed in chapter two, the big shift in prison labor policies occurred in the late 1920s when the colonies in FWA faced a shortage of workforce that led to the Decree of January 22, 1927, which organized prison labor in the federation as mandatory for prisoners. Two years later, the decree of February 22, 1929, reduced to the 11-hour shift to a 10-hour shift with a day off for prisoners in the district prisons, while that of 7 January 1939 did the same for penal camp residents. These policies designed to fight laziness and instill in inmates new work habits often resulted in the misuse of prisoners, mainly those performing corvées. They highlight the abusive nature of prison discipline in French Senegal. For example, in 1924, the colonial administration opened a new prison in the cercle of Diourbel where inmates worked more than fourteen hours each day, digging out the nearby basalt mine used for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. Due to this particular feature, the new prison came to be known as “prison de la mine.”97 When Inspector Lassalle Séré visited the Saint-Louis prison on March 4, 1938, as part of his investigative mission, he noted that 28 of the 78 native prisoners incarcerated there were assigned to corvées including sewage, city gardens, and janitorial tasks

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in colonial buildings.98 In 1939, his colleague Carcassonne recorded the total numbers of workdays completed by inmates in Senegal in 1938 for various colonial services at 19,128.99 This number indicated the measure of success that the colonial administration had achieved in extensively using prison labor. The significance of the corvées requirements implies there was no room for reforming prisoners. Further, gender distinctions were pronounced in the economy of prison labor. Female prisoners performed work related to their sex: they were expected to cook, pound the millet, and perform other domestic chores. The practice of imprisonment in Senegal, therefore, was a profoundly ambivalent process that, while articulating discipline through work, failed to give prisoners any vocational training or reform them. Only Article 97 of the Decree of February 22, 1929, articulated the professional training of prisoners through the fabrication of mats, nets, and wicker objects.100 There were no workshops or ateliers for prisoners to learn these trades because of a lack of space. If imprisonment in French Senegal accentuated work in the discipline of prisoners, its punitive effects were also visible in the important role given to hygiene. To discipline the African prisoner, hygiene was another motto. The link between prison discipline and cleanliness also marked the conception of imprisonment in colonial Senegal, as the colonial prison became a place where the hygiene of Africans was monitored. Discipline in the colonial era went beyond simply inculcating work habits into prisoners. Prison officials stressed hygiene to imbue African prisoners with notions of cleanliness. This emphasis on hygiene is intertwined with the image of the Africans as filthy and sources of diseases, as discussed in chapter two. Kalala Ngalamulume reminds us that “in French thinking, the indigènes had disqualified themselves from sanitary citizenship by refusing to adopt French cultural values and ideas of progress, and were therefore situated outside modernity and ‘civilization.”101 With the rhetoric of a civilizing mission, cleanliness emerged in the act of discipline to conquer filthy African prisoners who were incarcerated with European prisoners but isolated from these latter to whom “hygiene was of first importance.”102 So stated by Carpot, a doctor and member of the Saint-Louis Prison Surveillance Committee, in 1903. In praising the unique character of hygiene for Europeans, Carpot justified why they needed new blankets, bedclothes, and clothes in the rainy season, a peak time for filthiness in the prisons as well as in the towns and cities. This statement carried explicit assumptions that emphasized the difference between Africans’ hygiene and Europeans’ hygiene, implying that in the colonial records, Africans appear as racialized in their hygiene. So, prison officials seized upon the hygiene of European prisoners as a model to make cleanliness a justifiable part of prison discipline in colonial Senegal.



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Cleanliness was regulated through daily chores, including the sweeping of rooms and personal hygiene and bodily routines such as the washing of clothes and bodies. For instance, at the Bambey penitentiary school, uncleanliness was punished with “complete isolation for two, four, and eight hours.”103 The French attitudes concerning the hygiene of prisoners in Senegal are best expressed in reports completed over the years by members of the prisons’ surveillance committees whose duties included checking on the sanitary conditions of inmates. They repeatedly accentuated in the reports the same closing remarks: “the individual hygiene of prisoners, in particular, that of their bodies and clothes, are utterly above reproach and should serve as a good example to all populations.”104 They admitted that hygiene in prisons merely signified individual cleanliness. However, they viewed prisons as places where colonial projects, such as basic hygiene principles could begin before being extended to entire populations. In other words, they believed that prisons could provide an institutional model for reshaping the hygienic habits of Africans. These attitudes are emblematic of the broader French colonial hygienist discourse that sought to instill in Africans principles of hygiene. Besides, hygiene as a means of prison discipline was even aimed at polishing the African prisoner’s eating habits. The French authorities believed that African prisoners should be coached to eat as neatly and meticulously as themselves. Prisoners should take their meals in a refectory where they will eat at a table with an individual serving dish. These new table manners will entice them into losing the habits of eating around a common calabash or drink all with the same container, a practice that favors the transmission of diseases.105

This statement, written in 1944, was made by Governor-General Cournarie of FWA, who provided his feedback on proposed prison reform in Senegal that called for the construction of new prisons. Cournarie’s statement illustrates a discourse evident in the colonial state intervention into the lives of Africans. It encapsulated the French’s use of the colonial prisons as new sites to further their civilizing mission at reshaping Africans’ ways of life while embodying the feeling of vulnerability to diseases among Europeans. Hygienic discipline in the colonial prisons was one thing, but hygiene itself was another. None of the thirty-three prisons was built to maintain a higher standard of cleanliness. Instead, prisoners were exposed to uncleanliness: overcrowding, poorly-ventilated living quarters, bad drainage, no showers, toilets, and running water, and vermin, as discussed previously. The means for prisoners to keep themselves clean were ridiculous. In 1934, inmates at the Dakar prison received a supply of 2.4 kilograms of soap for the entire year.106 Across the colony on average, each inmate was supplied with 3.24

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kilograms of soap for the washing of bodies and clothes.107 Not surprisingly, inmates were allowed to shower only twice a week. Nor is it surprising they washed their clothes once a week. Moreover, the architectural irregularity of the colonial prisons made it impossible to keep facilities and prisoners clean. The supposed lack of hygienic habits of native prisoners rested not on their ignorance of basic sanitary principles as usually pointed out by officials, but on the lack of adequate sanitary facilities and means to make the colonial prison a clean and healthy environment. Work and hygiene, with all they signified in French Senegal, were delimited as areas of discipline in the prisons where they became ruling considerations in the civilizing mission of African prisoners. It seemed that it was everything in the African prisoner that was worth disciplining. The core of prison discipline in the colonial era was that the African prisoner should be civilized, or in other words have its morals and manners improved. This posits how “in colonial contexts, crime and criminality were significant sites for the norming of ‘culture’ through disciplinary techniques that targeted the body.”108 Discipline took on a somewhat different dynamic in the penitentiary schools. In these institutions, reports on young delinquents shackled, subjected to a regimented life, and classified in categories based on different degrees of perversity, provided another interesting model of penal disciplinary practices in Senegal. Disciplining Delinquent Youth: A Promise of Vocational Training and Education In her study of youth crime and juvenile justice in twentieth-century France, Sarah Fishman argues that a system dealing with child criminals reflects deeper social issues than the objective reality of juvenile crime.109 This proved to be the case in colonial Senegal, where overriding concerns about depravity and perversity caused the creation of penitentiary schools to turn morally disordered young delinquents into well-behaved individuals. Yet, in these institutions, discipline turned out to be coercive and physical as well, thus ruining the promise of vocational and educational training that sustained their creation. The treatment of youth delinquency and the subsequent creation of the penitentiary schools in Senegal should be examined in the light of the philanthropic movement that emerged in Western Europe and North America in the nineteenth century and aimed at assisting children exploited by industrial capitalism and morally neglected children.110 Called “childsavers,”111 the movement proponents expected to shield at-risk children from the dangers of marginality, delinquency, deprivation, and depravity. As in colonial Kenya,112 South Africa,113 and Nigeria,114 the measures to ad-



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dress youth delinquency in colonial Senegal were influenced by this reform movement. From the mid-nineteenth century onward, attempts to tackle the issue had different reference points. As discussed previously, the Decree of April 13, 1849, instituted two counsels of tutelage in Dakar and Saint-Louis that appointed guardians for freed minor slaves. Similarly, the Decree of June 27, 1904, stipulated the protection of children morally abandoned. The government also passed laws to protect racially mixed children. The serious concerns about the vulnerability of these groups to delinquency fueled the development of a web of social supervisory programs ranging from private to religious institutions to orphanages to rescue them. The ouvroirs/orphanages of Ndar Toute in Saint-Louis, Sisters of Immaculate Conception in Kaolack, Pères du Saint-Esprit Congregation in Ngazobil, and Indigenous Sisters in Joal were established for such purposes and by ordinances.115 Most of these early initiatives failed or remained inoperative for lack of funds and abuses that the children suffered at the hands of their guardians. By the late nineteenth century, these institutions gave way to the penitentiary schools hailed as a new response to juvenile delinquency in Senegal. The penitentiary school system became an umbrella under which young delinquents could be controlled, disciplined, and reformed. Deemed as a salutary solution to combat juvenile criminality, it recast the discipline of young offenders through work, vocational training, educational training, and a strict life of isolation. These principles, however, were not laid out in architectural structures conceived for that purpose. Instead, they became linked to concerns about the perceived criminal susceptibility of African youth. In the colonial era, the debate about juvenile delinquency in Senegal was cast in terms of early intervention before it was too late. Protecting delinquent youth was a clearer agenda for the colonial government. Its approach for the moral reformation and social improvement of prisoners coalesced in the belief that only children deserved and should receive it, an attitude that signaled a conceptualization of the delinquent youth as “reformable.” For instance, Patricia O’Brien stresses that “the institutional response to children and adolescents is probably the most foolproof way of getting at the meaning of the concept of rehabilitation in the modern system. Children, the least socially corrupted, were after all, potentially the most institutionally corrigible.”116 As such, the debate was also framed to identify the dangers posed to young offenders if confined in overcrowding urban prisons and mingled with hardened adult offenders who could school them in vice and crime. In such an atmosphere of moral protection, giving youth prisons the name or status of a school was also a means to emphasize rehabilitation through education and training. However, the creation of three penitentiary schools between 1888 and 1928 and the opening of two additional youth institutions in the

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1950s, revealed how unsettled the ideas of discipline through isolation and vocational and educational training for young offenders were. The rhetoric of juvenile delinquency and the disciplinary practices deployed in the penitentiary schools subverted any promises of vocational and education training of young offenders. In constructing juvenile delinquency, young offenders were deemed in danger but also dangerous, causing dilemmas over the appropriate type of treatment, which in the process would balance protection and discipline. In their efforts to reform young offenders, the colonial authorities believed that isolation was a promising method under which rehabilitation could be attained. The historiography of juvenile delinquency in colonial Senegal shows that the large majority of young offenders were thieves who committed petty crimes in the cities.117 The more isolated they were from the cities, the better it was. Only by such isolation from the cities, sources of criminal contamination, and their families, which in most cases were blamed for the deeds of children, it was believed that young offenders could be amended. From then, the idea of penitentiary schools became attractive as they would preserve public and social order by punishing and isolating dangerous young criminals from the potential sources of criminal contamination. No wonder convents, agricultural stations, and islands became perfect sites to tackle youth criminality. The penitentiary school system passed various through stages. The first school opened as early as 1888 when the colonial government vested authority in the congregation of the Pères du Saint-Esprit (Holy Ghost Fathers) to intervene in the lives of young criminals. From then, the Catholic mission was integrated as part of the government’s politics of juvenile delinquency. The school was founded in the late nineteenth century when the French were busy pacifying the annexed territories. In other words, their concerns over delinquent youth were real, but they had few resources to deal with it. So, they found themselves making a deal with the congregation of the Pères du Saint-Esprit. The congregation agreed to take care of young offenders in what became to be known as the Penitentiary School of Thiès, housed inside its convent which covered over three acres of land. In their mission to salvage young delinquents, the Fathers relied on their background in evangelical work and the sense of mission of their philanthropic spirit. It was not a surprise considering that “after the restoration of French rule in Senegal in 1817, the Congregation of the Holy Ghost undertook some spiritual responsibility for the colony.”118 The Fathers’ disciplinary methods were consistent with the ideology and raison d’être of the congregation: spiritual reformation. They saw juvenile delinquency as a religious battlefield and the measures they took to control it are evidence of this. They centered on transforming young offenders “redemption through work and the Gospel.”119 The issue of juvenile delin-



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quency provided the Pères du Saint-Esprit with opportunities to further their evangelization mission through the penitentiary school, as many of the pensioners were non-Christians. But, their emphasis on work did not make their mission solely spiritual. According to Senegalese historian Ibrahima Thioub, the school taught children to “obey and work, two qualities, the French did not believe indigenous people possessed.”120 In addition, he contends the children “would be raised together under severe discipline and consigned to agricultural work as well as related industries.” The stereotypical depiction of Africans as lazy people by nature had permeated the treatment of young offenders, making the attitude of the Fathers toward Africans no different from that of the colonial authorities. The treatment of juvenile delinquency took a new turn in 1903 when the alliance between the colonial government and the congregation was lost, but not the sense of urgency to deal with it. In the early twentieth century, the colonial government sought a more durable solution to young offenders. Yet, for over a decade, they grappled with what to do with young offenders, many of whom crouched in common prisons until 1912 when a new orphanage opened in Richard Toll. This new institution housed all young offenders acquitted in virtue of Article 66 of the 1810 Penal Code and those sentenced to less than two years in prison. Five years later, the orphanage was transferred to the village of Makhana. After failed projects, the treatment of young offenders came down to the burning issue of juvenile delinquency, thereby precipitating the opening of a new reformatory. The solution of isolation, which had framed the discipline of young offenders from the onset, came up again in 1916 when the government chose the agricultural experimental station at Bambey, located in the heart of the Peanut Basin, as home to the second penitentiary school in the colony. Nestled seventy miles from Dakar and forty miles from major cities like Thiès and Kaolack, the institution was defined by its idyllically rural setting. The Bambey penitentiary school, indeed, drew from its location and disciplinary practices on the cottage system, the treatment mark of delinquent youth in France and other European countries. Thomas Markus stressed that in England “the most obvious production, agriculture, was linked to education as well to the industrial revolution in institutions designed to turn morally disordered urban children in ‘sturdy peasants’ in the innocent pastoral environment.”121 Similarly, Patricia O’Brien contends that in nineteenth-century France, “thousands of children from urban areas were sent to the provinces to work on private and public penal farms.”122 After 1850 in Europe, agricultural colonies were deemed the best solution for keeping children from the ranking of the ever-growing and dangerous working-class populations in the cities. By 1916, the French copied the same formula in Senegal with the creation of the Bambey agricultural penitentiary.

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The atmosphere at Bambey was that of a farm with an emphasis on peanut production, the colony’s most important cash crop. Drawing on a much different approach than the Pères du Saint-Esprit, officials at the Bambey school believed in stern disciplinary methods as keys to attain reformation. They favored discipline over protection, as work and education were prioritized. However, the focus on the body of prisoners remained a crucial axis around disciplinary practices in the penitentiary schools as well. Moral reformation in the penitentiary schools was also based on a process of coercing the body. It was aimed at changing the characters of pensioners, and introduce them to “civilized” habits. Thioub shows how physical labor with busy work schedules became important strategies within the penitentiary schools. At Bambey, he insists, children “would be raised together under severe discipline and consigned to agricultural work as well as related industries.”123 He indicated, however, that they lived, worked, and studied in horrendous conditions. Besides, the reference to Africans as inherently criminals takes on significance when children were put in these categories: “barren head,” “of rebellious nature,” “suffering from primitivism,” “incorrigible thief,” “not enough brain to learn to read,” “hopelessly incurable” or “quite beyond any possibilities of reformation.”124 In most cases, the children in these categories were kept in prisons or returned to their parents when they showed no changes or moral reformation. The Professional School of Carabane, opened in 1928 following the closing of the Bambey School in 1927, was reorganized on such principles by 1939. At Carabane, the emphasis was definitely vocational. The school offered general education classes and professional training to the youngest offenders on the grounds that their “memory and mind were not yet deeply spoiled by deviance and vice.”125 After two years of operation with uncertain results, the administration urged school officials to consider a more systematic classification of the children. As colonial tensions heightened over the reformation of the young offenders, suggestions on how to properly amend them proliferated. One suggestion was to distinguish the older and incorrigible from the young and amendable inmates. Consequently, the children were divided into new categories: “abnormal and mature enough for the prison” and “susceptible to be amended, if isolated.”126 Here one could notice a move from mass treatment to individual treatment that differentiated children from hard core criminals. Furthermore, the program at Carabane shifted from a physical to a moral realm with a focus on elementary schooling and professional training, as the children were trained in masonry and carpentry. But, a vivid picture of the school’s failure that prompted the government to close it down in 1950 may be gained from its location itself. Isolation, which was praised as a salutary method for reformation, became a point of criticism in the discussions about the mission and the operation of



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the Carabane school that encapsulated odd standards of punishment. Of all the penitentiary schools, it was the most secluded, a reality that hit Denise Moran Savineau, the head of an investigation mission on the conditions of women and children in FWA. Her mission was consistent with the Ordinance of September 18, 1936, which stipulated the protection of these groups. In 1937, she toured Carabane, which was distant from major cities such as Ziguinchor and where communications were uncertain and irregular. After crossing three isles, she landed in Carabane, the fourth island from the coast and found the young offenders in extreme isolation. She was so shocked that she wondered what serious crimes the children had committed or how dangerous they were to have been entrusted into this penal wilderness by the administration.127 Her criticisms were supported by those of Inspector Lassalle Séré. In 1939, he too visited the school and admitted its ineffectiveness due to its isolation. He proposed its closing and the transfer of its residents to the prisons at Saint-Louis or Dakar, where they would be confined in separate quarters and given the necessary education and training. “The moral reformation of young offenders is abandoned,” he admitted.128 In response to these criticisms, Governor Parisot traveled to Carabane to improve the school management and reemphasize its vocational approach. Despite that, the distance continued to insulate the children from their parents who could not even visit them and instead of shielding them from the germs of perversity and deviance; it ruined the school’s promise of vocational training. The lack of trained staff and the unwillingness of the existing employees to suffer a moral imprisonment on the island, combined with their isolation away from the locus of power, added to the perception of the Carabane school as a failed promise. Isolation, deemed ideal for saving young offenders, was redefined as depriving, spoiling, and unreformative. Such problems precipitated its closing in 1950. The same year, the administration opened the Niani Center and five years later the CAOMI in 1955. The consecutive opening of two youth penal institutions anchored around vocational training expressed the colonial administration’s deep obsession with juvenile delinquency. Today, these two institutions embodied the legacy of the colonial penitentiary schools, which were launched with inadequate resources and staff and opened in improvised accommodation. In the politics of juvenile delinquency in colonial Senegal, the colonial administration clearly expressed little interest in reforming young female offenders. The penitentiary schools were male-orientated institutions. For instance, in 1922, Léonie Guèye, an eight-year-old girl, who was acquitted by the tribunal in Saint-Louis, nevertheless had to be incarcerated at the Bambey penitentiary school. Yet, the spatial organization of the institution did not allow for the incarceration of girls. The fear that Léonie, acquitted for a third time for robbery, might fall into delinquency if returned to her mother was a

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reason given for sending her in Bambey. In the words of the judge, “vicious and perverse children like Léonie needed a rehabilitation program that only institutions like the Bambey penitentiary could offer.”129 She was portrayed as a vicious child whose parents had failed to educate and control her. Colonial authorities believed that they had to assume responsibility and take responsibility for such children. In the penitentiary schools, reformation through education and vocational training were only essayed. CONCLUSION This chapter has shown the impact of architecture on the organization of prisoners’ lives and the management of prisons. It concludes that the daily operation of the colonial prisons proved impossible because the poor design of their buildings prevented a sound organization of life behind bars. While classification and separation of inmates were absent in most prisons, overcrowding and small dimensions became standards. In addition, inmates’ communication with those outside, which was made possible by the inadequacy of buildings as well, overtly exposed the realities of life behind the walls. Having refused the right to remain in contact with relatives, inmates secretly engaged in various ways to communicate with the outside world, oftentimes without the knowledge of officials. Meanwhile, denouncing their harsh incarceration conditions did not spare them from tough penal discipline. In nineteenth- and twentieth-century Senegal, prison discipline was a selective process. Calibrated to the length of sentences, the severity of crimes, social and civil status of inmates, as well as their age; it was imposed on certain categories of prisoners. Dangerous criminals, recidivists, penal camp prisoners, and young offenders suffered the most. Heavy workloads, reduced portions of food, corporal punishment, and fetters were used to obtain submission, change bad habits and instill good ones, and tame disobedient and rebellious individuals. Operating on metropolitan inspired ideas about criminality and deviance, prison discipline in colonial Senegal presented us with something different from the Western prison discipline. NOTES 1.  Iona Spens, Architecture of Incarceration (London: Academic Editions, 1994). 2.  Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978); Robin Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue: English Prison Architecture, 1750–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans.



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Alan Sheridan (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978); Janet Semple, Bentham’s Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); Norman B. Johnston, The Human Cage: A Brief of Prison Architecture (New York: Walter, 1973), and, from the same author, Forms of Constraint: A History of Prison Architecture (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000); Norbert Finzsch and Robert Jütte, eds., Institutions of Confinement: Hospitals, Asylums and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 1500–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 3.  Michelle Perrot and Michel Foucault, eds., L’impossible prison: recherches sur le système pénitentiaire au XIXe siècle (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1980). 4.  Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. D. Nicholson-Smith (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991), 16. 5.  Ibid., 26. 6. Fassil Demissie, “Representing Architecture in South Africa,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 30 (1997): 350. 7.  La consigne pour le concierge de la prison de Saint-Louis, 1895, ANS 3F/00047. 8.  Erving Goffman, Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mentally Patients and other Inmates (New York: Anchor Books, 1961), xiii. 9.  Delmas, delegate of the government to the governor on the prison in Dakar, Dakar, July 1931, ANS 3F/00034. 10. Carcassonne: Report on the Dakar prison, Dakar, February 22, 1939, 1, ANOM 61COL633. 11.  Ibid., 7. 12.  Carcassonne: Report on the prison and the penal camp at Thiès, Thiès, July 15, 1939, 1, ANOM 61COL633. 13. Report on the prison at Saint-Louis, Saint-Louis, April 18, 1939, ANS, 3F/00133. 14.  Director of the Kaolack prison to the commandant of Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, May 11, 1938, ANS 3F/00099. 15.  Governor of Senegal to all the commandants de cercles, Dakar, September 13, 1943, ANS 3F/00105. 16.  The Moretti Mission, 1939, 20–22, ANOM 61COL633. 17. Carcassonne report on the prison and penal camp at Thiès, 6, ANOM 61COL633. 18. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 172. 19.  Monguillot: Mission sur les services pénitentiaires du Sénégal, Saint-Louis, February 12, 1936, ANS 3F/00110. 20.  The Moretti Mission, 20, ANOM 61COL633. 21.  Lasse-Séré: Report on the penitentiary services in Senegal, Saint-Louis, March 14, 1939, ANOM 61COL633. 22.  The Moretti Mission, 20, ANOM 61COL633. 23.  Babacar Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral pénal au Sénégal, 1790–1960. Histoire de la punition pénitentiaire coloniale” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 2004), 96. 24.  Ibid., 96. 25. Goffman, Asylums, 189. 26. Ibid.

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27. Lefebvre, The Production of Space, 16. 28.  Commandant of Thiès to the governor of Thiès, October 4, 1938, ANS 3F/00105. 29.  Annual report on the prison at Thiès, 1942–1943, ANS 3F/00130. 30.  The Carcassonne report on the Dakar prison, 13, ANOM 61COL633. 31.  Alain Sinou, “Ideologies and pratiques de l’urbanisme dans le Sénégal colonial” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, EHESS, Paris, 1985), 87. 32.  Report on prison breaks at the prison in Dakar for the year 1890, Dakar, March 21, 1890, ANS 21G2. 33.  Monguillot Mission, ANS 3F/00110. 34. Lassalle Séré: report on the penitentiary services in Senegal, ANOM 61COL633. 35.  Carcassonne: report on the Dakar prison, 9, ANOM 61COL633. 36. Governor Durand to all the commandants de cercles, Dakar, 1946, ANS 3F00123. 37.  Perrot and Foucault, L’impossible prison. 38. O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment. 39.  Report on the prisons at Dakar and Saint-Louis, Dakar, September 23, 1905, ANS 3F/00001. 40.  Article 7 of the Decree of July 15, 1841, that created a prison system in Senegal, Saint-Louis, July 15, 1841, ANS 3F/00085. 41. Project of reform of the prison system in Senegal, August 1944, ANS 3F/00135. 42.  Lassalle Séré report, 5, ANOM 61COL633. 43.  Arrête 478 du 22 Février 1929 et arrête 479 du 22 Février 1929, Saint-Louis, February 22, 1929, ANS 3F00085. 44. Arrête réglementant le régime des prisons situées aux sièges des tribunaux français, Saint-Louis, February 22, 1929, ANS 3F/00085. 45.  General secretary of the Private Council to Governor, Saint-Louis, February 1, 1929, ANS 3F/00086. 46.  Carcassonne: report on the Dakar prison, 1939, 2, ANOM 61COL633. 47.  Moretti: Mission on the Dakar prison, 1939, 4, FR ANOM 61COL633. 48. Ibid. 49.  Lasse-Séré report, ANOM 61COL633. 50.  Sinou, “Idéologies, et pratiques,” 149. 51.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annuel, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 52.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annuel, 1936, ANS 3F/00081. 53.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annuel, 1945, ANS 3F00136. 54.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annuel, 1942, ANS 3F/00124. 55. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 136. 56.  Ibid., 139. 57.  Ibid., 138. 58.  Ibid., 136. 59.  Ibid., 172. 60.  William B. Cohen, “The Colonial Policy of the Front Popular,” French Historical Studies 7 (1972): 377.



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61.  René Pleven, Commissaire des colonies to Governor-General of FWA on the reform of the prison system in Senegal, Dakar, August 1944, ANS 3F/00135. 62.  Monguillot mission, ANS 3F/00110. 63.  Moretti mission, 22, ANOM 61COL633. 64.  Ibid, 1–2. 65. Foucault, Discipline and Punish. 66.  Florence Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure in Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa,” in A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, ed. Florence Bernault (Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003), 18. 67.  Ibid., 21. 68.  Ibid., 24–25 69.  Ibid., 24–25. 70.  Commandant of Thiès to the governor of Thiès, January 4, 1921, ANS 3F/00084. 71.  David Killingray, “The ‘Rod to Empire’: The Debate over Corporal Punishment in the British African Colonial Forces, 1888–1946,” The Journal of African History 35, no. 2 (1994): 202–203. 72.  Bernault, “The Politics of Enclosure,” 25. 73.  Steven Pierce and Anupama Rao, “Discipline and the Other Body: Correction, Corporeality, and Colonial Rule.” Interventions 3 (2001): 161. 74.  Ibid., 163. 75.  David Arnold, Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 8. 76. Ibid. 77. Clifton C. Crais, White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770–1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 3. 78. Andrew Bank, “Of ‘Native Skulls’ and ‘Noble Caucasians’: Phrenology in Colonial South Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies 22, no. 3 (1996): 390. 79. O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment, 150. 80.  Ibid., 150. 81.  Lasse-Séré report, ANOM 61COL633. 82.  Report of the commandant of Thiès on the “A” penal camp, Thiès, August 18, 1936, ANS 3F/00098. 83.  Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral,” 70. 84.  Lasse-Séré report, ANOM 61COL633. 85.  Ibid., 7. 86. Governor Levêque to all the commandants de cercles, Saint-Louis, March 1920, ANS 3F/00084. 87. Governor Beurnier to all commandants de cercles on the high number of prison breaks, Dakar, March 26, 1930, ANS 3F/00091. 88.  Lasse-Séré report, 2, ANOM 61COL633. 89. Norbert Finzsch, “‘Comparing Apples and Oranges?’ The History of Early Prisons in Germany and the United States, 1800–1860,” in Finzsch and Jütte, eds., Institutions of Confinement, 214. 90.  Rao and Pierce, Discipline and the Other Body, 210.

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91.  Ibid., 202–203. 92.  Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral,” 69. 93.  Ibid., 69 94.  Ibid., 49–55. 95. Organization and regime of the prisons in Senegal, August 8, 1888, ANS 3F/00003. 96. Commandant of Sine-Saloum to the governor of Senegal, Kaolack, April 1930, ANS 3F/00090. 97.  Villeneuve: Report on prisons in Senegal, Diourbel, August 20, 1924, ANS 3F/00081. 98.  Lassalle Séré report, 5, ANOM 61COL633. 99.  Carcassonne report on the Dakar prison, ANOM 61COL633. 100.  Lassalle Séré report, 6, ANOM 61COL633. 101.  Kalala Ngalamulume, “Keeping the City Totally Clean: Yellow Fever and the Politics of Prevention in Colonial Saint-Louis-du-Sénégal, 1850–1914,” The Journal of African History 45, no. 2 (2004): 191. 102. Report from the surveillance committee of the Saint-Louis prison, SaintLouis, March 28, 1903, ANS 3F/00060. 103.  Thioub, “Juvenile Marginality,” 89. 104.  Report on the living conditions of prisoners in Senegal, April 1934, ANS 3F/00105. 105.  Governor-general Cournarie to Governor Dagain, Dakar, August 25, 1944, ANS 3F/00136. 106.  The prison at Dakar, annual report, 1934, ANS 2G34-46. 107.  Bâ, “L’enfermement,” 48. 108.  Rao and Pierce, “Discipline,” 160. 109.  Sarah Fishman, The Battle for Children: World War II, Youth Crime, and Juvenile Justice in Twentieth-Century France (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 1. 110.  Ousseynou Faye, “Les métis de la seconde génération: les enfants mal-aimés de la colonisation française en Afrique Occidentale, 1895–1960,” in AOF: réalités et héritages. Sociétes ouest-africaines et ordre colonial, 1895–1960, eds. Charles Becker, Ibrahima Thioub et Saliou Mbaye (Dakar: Archives Nationales du Sénégal, 1997), 781. 111.  Anthony Platt, The Child-Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977). 112. Chloe Campbell, “Juvenile Delinquency in Colonial Kenya, 1900–1930,” The Historical Journal 45 (2002): 129–51. 113. Laurent Fouchard, “The Limits of Penal Reform: Punishing Children and Young Offenders in South Africa and Nigeria (1930s to 1960),” Journal of Southern African Studies 37, no. 3 (2011): 517–34. 114.  Laurent Fouchard, “Lagos and the Invention of Juvenile Delinquency in Nigeria, 1920–1960,” The Journal of African History 47 (2006): 115–37. 115.  Faye, “Les métis,” 782. 116. O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment, 110.



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117.  Thioub, “Juvenile Marginality,” 81. 118.  D. H. Jones, “The Catholic Mission and Some Aspects of Assimilation in Senegal, 1817–1852,” The Journal of African History 21, no. 3 (1980): 340. 119.  Thioub, “Juvenile Marginality,” 84. 120.  Ibid., 83. 121.  Thomas A. Markus, Buildings and Power: Freedom and Control in the Origin Modern Buildings (London: Routledge, 1993), 46. 122. O’Brien, The Promise of Punishment, 123. 123.  Ibid., 83. 124.  Ibid., 85. 125.  Lasse-Séré report, ANOM 61COL633. 126. Ibid. 127.  Tournée de Madame Savineau sur la condition de la femme en AOF durant les années 1930. Report no 18 on Casamance, ANS 17G/381/126. 128.  Lasse-Séré report, ANOM 61COL633. 129.  General attorney to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, May 8, 1924, ANS 3F/00073.

Chapter 5

Redesigning the Colonial Prison African Responses to Imprisonment

In 1836, Hibraim Fal, a laptot sentenced to two years at the prison in SaintLouis, along with twenty co-inmates, all laptots too, claimed they were shackled every day, a practice they asserted was usually used on hard-labor prisoners and slaves.1 The ordonnateur, or chief executive officer, ordered governor Louis Pugol to investigate the allegations brought by M’Baye Touré, Chief of the North Provinces, on behalf of the inmates. For Fal and his prison-mates, who knew the difference between laptots and slaves, the use of chains represented not only a violation of their social status but also questioned such status. Laptots were captives rented as sailors, not slaves as they explained in their petition. Almost a century later, prisoners remained vocal about prison conditions in French Senegal. In 1925, Amadou Kane, an originaire2 inmate, incarcerated at the Kaolack prison, wrote to top authorities complaining about the absence of bedding. He describes his sleeping conditions “as worse than in the brush. I am unable to sleep for days.”3 Kane, who said he deserved comfortable bedding, asked to be treated as befitted by his status as a French citizen and like his European counterparts. Ten years later, inmates serving long sentences at the prison in Saint-Louis echoed similar complaints. They penned a letter to the colony’s general inspector of administrative affairs, expressing frustration about their inability to stop the abuses they constantly suffered at the hands of Albert Guaillard, the régisseur (warden) of the prison. They wrote: “he mistreats us because he knows that we are prisoners and don’t have any rights. He locks us two or three days in a row, and in this prison, the punitive cells are small, dank, and airless.”4 For these prisoners, Guaillard’s attitude questioned their rights as prisoners and the conditions of rights within the colonial prisons in Senegal. These letters document a desire to speak through writing. They alone reveal firsthand accounts of what it was like to endure imprisonment in colonial 217

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Senegal. While a glimmer of what prisoners endured, such letters prove that prisoners’ concerns were well documented. Filled with grievances, these letters also indicate that African responses to imprisonment were not only real, but also expected. Like many more found in the archives, they embody the voices of prisoners during the colonial period, thus taking the history of imprisonment in Senegal to a whole new level, both theoretical and problematical. Unveiling the harsh realities of prison conditions, the letters make the voices of prisoners apparent, and consequently, they make the history of imprisonment in colonial Senegal an episode to be written and understood from prisoners’ own perspectives. Mahmood Mamdani argues that “because our emphasis on agency was to the exclusion of institutions, we failed to historicize agency, to understand the extent to which colonial institutions did shape the agency of the colonized.”5 Despite the rich scholarship on the history of imprisonment in Africa, prisoners’ agency in that history has been overlooked. To be sure, many studies emphasize prisoners’ voices as a site of language invisibility and erasure. Nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the historiography of prisons in Senegal. Prisoners, for instance, are almost nonexistent in Chérif Daha Bâ’s study, an in-depth look at criminality and prisons in the province of Fouta. Denying them the ability to resist or to protest the mistreatments that they experienced, Bâ argues that prisoners suffered in silence in the terrifying space of the prison.6 Inmates’ dimensions in the history of imprisonment in Africa can no longer be ignored: what is needed at this time is an in-depth knowledge of such agency. A large post-colonial literature has focused on retrieving subaltern voices and reading resistance from colonial texts.7 Despite limitations in reading Africans’ agency and viewpoints from colonial archives, here I open a discussion on ways in which those viewpoints and agency can be recovered from the colonial prison records. So, I intend this chapter not as a definitive statement on the voices of prisoners in French Senegal, but as an invitation to comparison, elaboration, critique, and as a response to Michelle Perrot’s call for bringing prisoners into the picture.8 In reference to the rich literature on prisons, Perrot points out the lack of attention to the contribution of prisoners. In the previous chapter, I argue that the colonial prisons in Senegal were not a silent world thanks to prisoners who managed to control communication channels inside and with the outside world. This chapter deals more specifically with their responses to imprisonment by paying attention to the many ways they transformed the colonial prisons in the process. It is concerned with how African prisoners developed common responses to imprisonment around the architecture of prisons. It also discusses the kinds of activities and actions that sustain such responses and the techniques and



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strategies they used to re-appropriate prison spaces. The connections between prison architecture and punishment in colonial Senegal cannot simply be measured by how they impacted surveillance, discipline, and the organization of prison life. Detention conditions in colonial Senegal fostered a climate of resistance to imprisonment, a climate in which inmates exploited the irregularity of buildings to their advantages and redesigned prisons to meet their own architectural standards. From escapes to riots, calls for improved detention conditions, and other survival strategies, prisoners tried to create normalcy in the chaotic world of the colonial prisons. By exploiting the irregularity of their architecture, they created a platform of resistance to the hardship of imprisonment they experienced. As such, this chapter argues that the colonial prisons in Senegal cannot be placed under the umbrella of Foucault’s power/knowledge because a different form of power exists there, a power that was not solely at the hands of prison officers but also of prisoners thanks to deficient architectures. African prisoners’ responses to imprisonment resonated strongly with their detention conditions and cannot be fully understood apart from their architectural contexts. They also resonated with the popular representation of prisons. POPULAR REPRESENTATIONS OF THE COLONIAL PRISON Popular representations of prisons capture a part of the reality of the history of imprisonment in Senegal. As discussed in chapter 1, imprisonment was obviously a terrifying experience for Africans who lived in prison-less societies. Encounters between Africans and Europeans through the colonial prison became emblematic of a full range of socio-spatial relationships of domination and resistance. The colonial prison, to quote Marie Louise Pratt, was a “contact zone,” which she defines as a space of social encounters “where peoples geographically and historically separated came into contact with each other and established ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict.”9 Encounters between the French and the natives in Senegal were also encoded in the repressive language of the colonial prison. The French imposed it on populations who never wanted it or wished for. As the colonial prison brought them into the colonial state, their representations of imprisonment became part of the history of the prison as well as that of resistance to French rule in Senegal. Africans’ perceptions of imprisonment were transcended through their experiences of colonial rule. For instance, the loss of landownership rights and the reshaping of socio-political, economic, and cultural aspects of African societies brought a tangible loss of freedom. As already discussed,

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imprisonment with all it signified and brought with it contrasted unfavorably with African indigenous methods of punishment. For Africans, imprisonment dehumanized them like slaves, as discussed at the beginning of this chapter with the story of Hibraim Fal and his fellow inmates in the Saint-Louis prison. Their representations of prisons were expressed through a language of fear and the unknown as they infused imprisonment with meanings that embodied colonialism in its crude reality. In colonial Senegal, popular representations of prisons were much enhanced by the rich social and cultural meanings attached to imprisonment. Imprisonment was deemed as a mirror of decay, a negative representation epitomized in beliefs of prisons as polluted and destructive places. These depictions could also be gathered from the rhetoric of imprisonment in present-day Senegal where prisons are represented in the same negative way: disgrace. For instance, the perception of the prison as a shameful place compel released prisoners to bath in the sea to purify their bodies and souls and wipe out the shame, which they might live with for the rest of their lives.10 Today, as it was during the colonial period, imprisonment is linked directly to destruction, reflecting perhaps a more broadly cultural anxiety about the nature of the institution itself. Africans never embraced it because the changes it wrought were changes for the worst. Popular sentiments about prisons in colonial Senegal were also built around their physical presence. Architecturally, colonial prisons stood ready for representation. For African populations, prisons were fully defined by their buildings. Africans were as frightened by the prisons they encountered every day as the buildings were the visual antithesis of their prison-less societies. As prisons mushroomed, mounting to thirty-three institutions by 1960 when the French withdrew from Senegal, their architectural realities kept the negative representations of imprisonment very much alive. In present-day Senegal, the French word “galère” (galley) became a generic word used to mock a person who looks like a prisoner, particularly when that person wears a “faary mbam,”11 an outfit which is most described as an image of the world of prisons. These words represent what it means to be a prisoner. The colonial prisons were places where Africans also experienced the worst of French rule. They provoked death and compelled Africans to rely on magic to avoid them. Hence, it can be argued an overwhelmingly negative view of prisons prevailed in colonial Senegal and judging from it, suicide, mystic incantations, and charms, what Senegalese historian Ibrahima Thioub calls “évitements”12 became the prevailing responses. By and large, Africans’ sentiments about imprisonment are entwined in language and action. The negative representations associated with imprisonment can be assumed and we read the evidence, which is surely telling, through the



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rapport of royals to imprisonment. The late Senegalese historian Mbaye Guèye explained through the story of Jery Joor the effect of imprisonment on aristocrats of Wolof societies and how they responded to it. According to Guèye, Jery Joor, son of a king of the kingdom of Kayoor, was sentenced to fifteen days in prison for kidnapping and enslaving the children of his cousin Kanar Fall. Shocked by the verdict, he asked Prempain, the French judge if his punishment was based on French laws or the Koran. Here Jery brought to light two distinct and conflicting judicial systems. Prempain responded that he sentenced him according to French laws to deter acts of human trafficking.13 So it was difficult, according to Guèye, for a garmi14 like Jery to accept such verdict as for a garmi imprisonment was unthinkable. Accepting the verdict entails accepting French laws and judicial order, the same order that took his father away from him. Jery’s father, Samba Yaya Fall, a former king of Kayoor, was also sentenced to house arrest after his defeat by the French military. However, in 1891, he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Senegal River after he was denied authorization to visit his sick mother. The memory of his father’s suicide conveyed and grew the sense of tension and anxiety in Jery. After Prempain rejected his request to commute his sentence, Jery pulled a gun and opened fire on the guards who provided protection to the trial. Chautemps, administrator of Thiès and son of Chautemps, the colonial minister, tried to intervene but was killed by Sarica Fall, another cousin of Jery. Sealing his fate because he could not escape prison, Jery fled the courtroom but was later captured with the help of Bukar Cilaas and Kanar Fall, who killed him. Charged with murder in May 1907, Kanar Fall was incarcerated at the prison at Dakar, same for Bukar Cilaas who immediately killed himself. Sentenced to two years in prison, Kanar converted to Islam upon his release.15 His conversion to Islam could be perceived as a rebirth to wipe away his prison experience. Guèye’s study of Samba Marame Kay, another member of the Wolof aristocracy, is a case in point. Charged with treason, Kay hanged himself at the prison in Gorée in 1863. He chose death over imprisonment to be remembered as an honorable man. These suicides are perceived as nobly superior acts. For these Wolof royals, their social values rejected imprisonment. One can locate their responses to imprisonment within the discourse of honor, pride, and courage that sustained their societies. The Wolof concepts of diom, goor, and gathie coalesced in the widely held belief that prison is not for a garmi. Any contacts with it meant the inevitable loss of these values. As they were imprisoned, they choose death or conversion to Islam to preserve their dignity and nobility. However, the negative representations of prisons seemed to resonate in both aristocrats and common people, thereby transcending social classes. In 1939, Lamine Gning, an inmate in the Ndande penal camp killed

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himself after being put in irons for refusal to work.16 Both aristocrats and common people rejected imprisonment because in the colonial prisons the distinct line between these social classes was fictional. These cases provide ample evidence that imprisonment produced disastrous outcomes in colonial Senegal. Taken together, they demonstrate that suicide and conversion to Islam gave meaning to the negative popular representations of the colonial prisons. To this day, Islam becomes a refuge for many prisoners who claim being more pious while in prison or after serving time. Interviews with inmates in the appendix show that religion becomes a fundamental aspect of prison life in Senegal. Popular representations of the colonial prisons in Senegal fit well with the ways prisons were being avoided. Such representations could also be measured by the methods used to escape imprisonment. As prison populations increased and negative images of prisons swelled, mystic power in the form of talismans became an antidote to imprisonment. Among those talismans were the “Corne de Ndémène” or “lokki Ndèméne,” which protected against all threats from the colonial power and the “gris-gris à noeud de Koular,” which made the wearer invisible.17 These items were called talismans for a good reason. Ibrahima Thioub stresses that they supposedly protected Yaadikoon, a social bandit whose stunning prison breaks made headlines in the colony’s newspapers. His escape records bear commentary and may have been achieved by these talismans.18 Yaadikoon has been memorialized in the colonial media as a fearsome, dangerous, and smart person.19 Besides, a legend took root about him as a bandit with mystic power, a legend so strong that when he fled from the prison in Hann in 1955, witnesses to this arrest blamed the staff for allowing him to keep his amulets.20 A year later, he bolted from the prison in Dakar. It would not be surprising if his stunning escapes were the result of his reliance on supernatural power. But, as will be discussed later, detailed descriptions of his escapes reveal that rather than relying on mystic power, Yaadikoon had a good familiarity of the prisons in which he was incarcerated. The negative representations of the colonial prison cut across social classes because prison-induced changes were felt everywhere. Such representations were supported, however, by an overwhelming practice, escape, which brought to life the quality of the architecture of colonial prisons in Senegal. RESISTING IMPRISONMENT IN ESCAPE Europeans have dismissed Africans’ resistance or responses to imprisonment. As discussed in the previous chapter, in colonial Senegal, authorities had



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claimed that the native populations welcomed the prison and were far better off in prisons. These arguments were not unusual in colonial Africa. In his article on British Justice and the African, G. St J. Orde-Browne, an Office Labor adviser and former Tanganyikan official, set the tone. In British Africa, he wrote: “from the material point of view, the average native probably has little of which to complain; accustomed in his own home to a primitive type of shelter and seasonal vicissitudes in diet, he finds himself well fed and soundly housed; the task set for him is seldom exacting, and the conditions in which it is performed are not unpleasant.”21 Like most Europeans, Orde-Browne noted that “the natural habit of obedience to authority, which characterizes the African, leads to a philosophical acceptance of the situation; attempts at escape being thus rare except on the part of hardened offenders.”22 He continued on, stressing that “once the prisoner has recovered from his trepidation at being caught in the white man’s trap, he probably settles down placidly enough to await the end of his sentence.” By and large, OrdeBrowne associated African prisoners with obedience, acceptance, and docility. His statements are indicative of the European construction of the African prisoner that circulated on the continent during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Those perceptions fashioned an image of the African prisoner in the language of passivity, a stereotypical inherent passivity, as Orde-Browne stated. Judging from the work of Ralph Tanner, the colonial cliché of passive African prisoners was deeply rooted in Europeans’ minds. He argues that “it has sometimes been thought that the passivity of African convicts in prison and the lack of tension with which they move in and out of prison is due to the fact that prison represents a marked improvement on anything they might experience in their own lives and that therefore they like prison and regard it as a hotel.”23 To say that African prisoners were passive and enjoyed the benefits of imprisonment, namely free food, accommodation, and health care, is an understatement. Although this may technically be true for colonial authorities, bursts of escapes put a stain on that argument. To put it in perspective, in 1926 alone, 297 inmates fled prisons across the colony: the forces of prison resistance were visible in every prison. In colonial Senegal, escape debunked a portrayal of African prisoners as passive. In its prisons, inmates channeled their resistance to imprisonment into actions. However, it is safe to say that among those actions, escape whether individual or collective was the most common response to imprisonment. Thus, it becomes a lens for understanding a lot of prison regimes in Senegal. There is scanty data on the motives for escape, but high rates suggest dissatisfactions with prison life, responses to the well-grounded image of the prison as a destructive experience, and prisoners’ unwillingness to live under unbearable prison conditions. What is clear, however, is that many prisoners

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escaped, cutting short their sentences. And every time one or more prisoners did, they ultimately weakened the colonial enterprise of imprisonment and the rule of law in colonial Senegal. Escapes were classified into two categories: prison breaks and escapes that occurred during outdoor tasks. Our evidence shows that the number of escapees remained consistently high throughout the colonial period. As penal labor became a prominent feature of forced labor in colonial Senegal, outdoor tasks, or corvées, presented would-be escapees with a wealth of opportunities to bolt. Based on prison reports, prisoners who worked outdoors discovered that “it is very easy for them to flee and put a certain amount of time between themselves and their chasers.”24 The proximity of brushes and wooded areas to work sites eased and encouraged escapes. Where geography and other circumstances permitted, prisoners successfully ran away. Given the enormous areas of some cercles and inmates’ familiarity with the general locale, most escapees remained free, a nuisance to authorities who admitted difficulty associated with capturing fugitive prisoners. In 1926, the commandant of Thiès noted that “it is very difficult, indeed, impossible to chase prisoners who go into hiding in wooded areas. Out of fear or because they do not want to betray prisoners, helpers remained silent.”25 During the colonial period, however, prison breaks answered for more than 50 percent of escapes and evidenced that prisoners acquainted with the architectural imperfections of the colonial prisons. Thereby, prison breaks are also lens through which to understand the links between punishment and architecture in French Senegal. The recorded evidence on escapes shows that they occurred as early as 1890, when three prisoners sentenced to hard labor fled from the prison at Dakar.26 These early incidents presage continuing evasions. In the ensuing decades, escape became unstoppable, worsening in the mid-1920s. The potent combination of harsh physical discipline, poor detentions conditions, and reported abuses imply a culture of prison resistance that encouraged bursts of mass escapes. Between January 1926 and April 1927, 422 inmates escaped from prisons across the colony.27 By 1927, escapes had hit a fever pitch. In the first four months of 1927, there were 125 escapes colony-wide. By the end of that year, numbers were so high that the lives of prisoners were organized around escape. So, it seems fair to say that by 1927 escape had been firmly established as the core of the culture of prison resistance in French Senegal. Escapes kept colonial authorities up at night as they occurred everywhere and at any time well beyond 1927. In September 1934, five inmates fled the same day from the prison at the Linguère prison, about two hundred miles from Dakar.28 The message of resistance to imprisonment that prisoners sent to colonial officials by escaping anywhere and anytime circulated more rapidly out of the penal camps where inmates were emboldened by a fierce spirit of



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resistance. There, supervisors and guards were on edge as prisoners developed a ravenous appetite for escape. While inmates fled from all prisons, the largest number of escapes occurred in the penal camps, scenes of spectacular escapes. It is fair to say that these institutions were open-air prisons and their residents were guaranteed escapees; the numbers prove it. In 1936, 13 convicts fled from the Louga penal camp.29 Two years later, the surging character of escapes at the camp speaks volumes. Out of the 90 inmates incarcerated there in 1938, 37 ran away, and only 17 were captured.30 Massive escapes also rattled the Thiès penal camp. In 1938, 18 of its 50 residents fled,31 making those who did not run away think it was worthy trying. In 1939, 17 prisoners escaped in one month,32 proving that it was an advantageous venture. Both camps housed dangerous criminals and recidivists deemed most likely to run away by prison officers. Escape as resistance to imprisonment cut across age groups. In 1923, Thierno MBacké, a young offender incarcerated at the prison at Diourbel won the reputation of an escape artist, attempting to abscond eleven times. In 1924, the director also requested that Balla MBaye, another young offender, portrayed as a resolute candidate to escape, be transferred to Saint-Louis.33 Sentenced to six months, Mbaye attempted to run twice in the same month. Captured, he served two additional years for attempted escape.34 Efforts to escape also crossed gender lines. Women ran away, although their escapes were fewer in numbers. Convicted of murder and incarcerated at the prison in Thiès, her native town, N’Dioba tried to escape but was captured four days later in the village of Mékhé.35 Escape proved easier for men because they mostly worked outdoors and female prisoners typically worked indoors. These figures and incidents underscored deplorable prison conditions. As shown here and elsewhere, there is convincing evidence that prison escape was widespread in colonial Senegal. For that reason, it was a celebration of resistance to imprisonment there. This study, however, argues that escape was a mirror of the architecture of the colonial prisons. It turns out that in French Senegal, prison escape had a lot to do with the irregularities of the architecture of its prisons. Perhaps most important is what makes an escape an act of resistance: the prisoner’s knowledge of a prison’s architectural surrounding and the prisoner’s architectural ingenuity. Strategies to escape speak volume of prisoners’ familiarity with the physical space of colonial prisons, their internal and external spaces, walls, solidity, width, and height, etc. To a significant extent, escape is another path to theorizing and deciphering prison architecture in French Senegal. The irregularities of the colonial prisons, which contributed to the various problems that plagued the institution, also accounted for escapes. Though they have been discussed many times, they need to be recited here. The architectural

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deficiencies, which turned the colonial prisons into a world with no code of silence opened a wealth of possibilities for prisoners who eventually redefined such deficiencies as gateways to escape. The possibilities were enormous because the deficiencies were everywhere and the temptation to escape was irresistible to most prisoners. Besides, prison breaks were so common that escaping became aligned with the ingenuity of the prisoners. Clearly, throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, prison breaks in Senegal carried the effects of a flawed architecture. The evidence confirms that most prisons lacked basic security essentials: from door-less prisons to fence-less, guard-less, and light-less prisons. In 1878, a decade after Dakar opened its first prison, the head of the colony’s justice department denounced the lack of doors and night guards at the prison.36 It not a surprise that in 1890 three prisoners fled that prison and were never captured. Four decades later, the members of the prison’s surveillance committee reported that except “one gas light fixed in one corner of the prison’s main building that lighted up the inspection corridors and yards, the Dakar prison was pitch-dark at night.37 They admitted that in such circumstances even the most watchful guard could not prevent inmates from escaping. The widespread lack of security in the prisons bears witness to concerns among authorities throughout the colonial period. Across the government, administration officials appeared to frankly confirm what prison officers were asserting in annual reports. In 1924, for instance, the administrator of Sédhiou decried the absence of fences around the city’s prison, claiming that only a range of thin barbed-wires surrounded the cells. He requested money to build a four-meter-high wall.38 A few years later, in 1939, Thérond, inspector of administrative affairs visited the prison at Podor and noted the absence of a perimeter wall around the prison.39 These concerns coalesced in the 1936 Monguillot report, which made the equation poor prison architecture and escapes in colonial Senegal crystal clear. When Monguillot visited the Saint-Louis prison, he discovered that the inspection corridor covered only half of disciplinary quarters, a layout he noted, encouraged escapes. When asked about measures to prevent escapes, the director suggested placing broken pieces of glass on top of the prison wall.40 Where security devices existed, they were improperly installed or built not to keep prisoners in, but to keep the public out. Escapes were also associated with overcrowding and the slack separation of prisoners. Prisoners were massed together in large dormitories, which increased their opportunities to escape. In 1936, Monguillot denounced the jam-packing of prisoners in exiguous facilities as the source of the barrages of escapes, individual or collective.41 Over the decades, the equation of prison architecture and escapes in colonial Senegal continued to be decried in prison reports that highlighted the architectural dimensions of prison



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breaks. In March 1890, three prisoners escaped from the prison in Dakar simply jumping over the two-meter-high wall of the prison.42 In 1934, five prisoners at the prison in Linguère tunneled a big hole underneath the prison wall and fled undetected.43 Prison walls were flimsy and could not oppose the movements of inmates, who were aware of deficiencies in colonial prisons’ architecture. In 1943, Governor Hubert Deschamps summoned commandants of the cercles to remind prison directors to be more vigilant in enforcing surveillance. His remarks came after an investigation revealed that prisoners usually escaped at night by digging tunnels underneath prison walls.44 Yaadikoon’s stunning escapes in the 1950s reflect the connections between prison architecture and escapes in colonial Senegal. Also, they occurred roughly at the end of French rule, a time when one would hope that prisons were secure enough. This was an instance of architectural creativity and knowledge that gained Yaadikoon notoriety in Dakar and the rest of Senegal and disgust from colonial authorities. Historical studies on social banditry in Senegal have repeatedly used Yaadikon’s image to debate the impact of banditry in twentieth-century Senegal. Yaadikoon embodied the spirit of what Ibrahima Thioub and Ousseynou Faye both call a social bandit. However, discourses on Yaadikoon as a social bandit who operated at the outskirts of colonial cities, committing crimes against the administration spread to prisons where he gained infamy as a skilled champion for escape. In October 1952, twenty-eight prisoners escaped from the prison at Dakar, of whom twenty-six were captured, but Yaadikoon, the alleged mastermind of what the authorities deemed a rebellion rather than of a collective breakout, was captured a year later. In 1956, four years later, Yaadikoon set off a media frenzy and made national headlines when he fled from the Dakar prison, leaving everyone questioning how it could happen. The local newspaper Paris-Dakar’s coverage of the incident, which can be touted as a valuable historical document, is noteworthy because it provides hints on the architecture of the prison at Dakar.45 Escaping from that prison would be overwhelming since it was the largest prison in Senegal with a thick basalt wall and watchtowers. But the newspaper shows that for Yaadikoon and his accomplices, it was not. If we do not believe in the power of amulets, we do believe in the power of ladders. The one used by Yaadikoon and his lieutenants to escape was a sevenmeter iron pipe with two valves that pump water into the prison’s bathrooms. Smart and very creative, Yaadikoon had all the time to plan his escape in the quiet room, #7 he shared with his assistants Malick N’Diaye and Amadou N’Diaye and two other detainees. Yesterday afternoon as the sun was about to set, a guard showed up to take the prisoners for recess in a small yard inside the prison. The two other prisoners said they would prefer to stay in the room.

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Yaadikoon and his lieutenants followed the guard. As soon as they entered the yard, they jumped on the pipe, which was laid down in the middle of the courtyard and tore it out with force using the two valves. Armed with the pole, they stuck it on to the prison’s four-meter high wall, which they climbed over easily winding up the inspector corridor. They circled half of the corridor and found themselves near some sports fields, and later in a small garden that separated the playing fields from the prison. They again used the ladder (the iron pipe), which they had already thrown in the inspection corridor to jump over a second wall, six meters above ground and were free at least, but for how long?46

There is a lot to unpack here. Yaadikoon escaped with ferocity and didn’t come up short. The media coverage of the incident strengthened his reputation as a skilled fugitive. The newspaper featured the incident as a triumph of “ladders” over “amulets,” or simply as an act of great ingenuity. By escaping from the prison at Dakar, Yaadikoon and his alleged lieutenants were apparently very knowledgeable of the facility, its architecture, and the opportunities it opened for them to flee. They simply seized a water pipe that was in plain sight and turned into an escape tool. Besides, they did not meet any resistance from guards who were nowhere to be found. By and large, this implies that the prisoners drew upon the lack of security at all levels in the prison to simply flee. Yaadikoon’s escapes raised serious concerns about the security of prisons in the colony, particularly in Dakar, the capital city, and it became clear it inspired others. In November 1956, just six months after his flight, two of his alleged lieutenants, Baro Ndiaye and Souleymane Dia, fled from the penal camp at Hann, in the Dakar suburbs. The Paris-Dakar chased the story with the same take: “Spectacular escapes at the Dakar prisons. A Lieutenant of Yaadikoon escaped from the Hann Penal Camp.” The evasions were, indeed, astonishing. This time, the escape occurred at the penal camp at Hann, a few miles from Dakar. There, Baro Ndiaye and Souleymane Dia share a room alone. Recently built, the room was equipped with a security device: a metal door with iron bars doubled with a second armor-plated door that stayed open all day to aerate the room. The two detainees slept in cement bunk-beds with metal frames propped against the wall. They used the corners of their bed frames to conceal a fifteen-centimeter piece of jigsaw they taped up on the metal with a piece of oily soap. Every day, they sawed off inch-by-inch three of the iron bars on the door and tore out the metal cover. Finally, Monday evening, they fled through the hole they succeed to widen after days of work. They passed through the second door left open as usual, reached the inspection corridor, jumped over a six-meter high fence, and landed in a second corridor. But everything was well planned, and one can see their sharp imagination. They created a hook with one of the iron bars they slashed from the door. As one end of the hook



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was pierced, they attached the handle of a bucket used by inmates for washing. They twisted the handle to form a hoop to which they tied their two bed sheets to form a rope that was a perfect creation. They flung it twice over the high wall. Let us underline the height of the wall, 6 meters, and the dexterity necessary to accomplish such scheme.47

The Paris-Dakar has given us a context to see exactly what the architecture of the prison at Hann looked like through the lens of the fugitives. The words describing the incident are architecturally symbolic in meaning, referring to the supposedly security of the new room, its metal and iron-barred doors, metal bed frames, and the six-meter-high wall to oppose Ndiaye and Dia’s movements. They also highlighted the fugitives’ creativity and audacity in triumphing over those intolerable, but maneuverable walls, doors, fences, and windows. The newspaper associated Ndiaye and Dia with dexterity and inspired the commandant of Sédhiou, who commented on the barrages of escapes in 1927, to admit that “it just takes determination and boldness to flee.”48 The elements that determined how prison breaks were executed or occurred were highly evident in the architectural layouts of the colonial prisons. They were found in the open courtyards, flimsy walls, unguarded inspector corridors, slightly barred windows and doors, low fences, communal rooms, and exiguous cells. The outcomes of prison escapes in colonial Senegal, are, then, a redesign of the architecture of its prisons. Through escapes, African prisoners powerfully re-invented the colonial prisons. Yet as extensive and systematic escapes hampered the management of prisons, the administration devised several measures to crack down on them. Cracking Down on Prison Escapes For colonial authorities, there was no doubt that prison escapes were alarming, and how to end them became a colony-wide concern. Authorities focused on stopping escapes of any kind from any prison, and when they happened, they pursued them with incredible vigor. In 1927, as the number of escapes reached the highest rate ever since the introduction of prisons in Senegal, the authorities took on a series of new measures to address the breakout epidemic. The measures were, however, as diverse as the conditions and circumstances that permitted or encouraged escapes. In 1927, for instance, Meyer, the commandant of Bignona, asked that all prisoners serving more than two years in Bignona be transferred to Dakar or Saint-Louis because their likelihood to escape became greater with the proximity of the Senegal/Gambia border.49 In 1936, almost a decade later, his colleague, the commandant of the cercle of Sine-Saloum made similar requests, urging prison officials to keep recidivists out of Kaolack because the closeness of the neighboring British

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colony of Gambia made escape much easier.50 Flight to neighboring colonies and into forests or wooded areas enabled most escapees to avoid being captured. By 1936, however, following the Monguillot report, colonial authorities hammered at escape issues, especially the state of prison buildings. They openly attributed the problem to the inadequacy of prisons, emphasizing that facilities should be architecturally secured. The Monguillot report provoked some real and proposed solutions. However, there is little coherence in directing those solutions. For instance, one solution was to install new fences in every prison across the colony, some of which would be made of stone and cement, instead of local materials. But, colonial authorities’ patchwork approach to the penal system, carelessly putting prisons and their populations at the bottom of their priorities, foiled this measure. Realizing the financial burden and time needed to complete the project, they simply abandoned it to embark on a new one. In 1951, the authorities revived an old project to build a larger prison, this time in a well-secure site to regroup all long-sentenced prisoners, recidivists, and captured fugitives whose continual unruliness disturbed the prisons, only to realize that they could not fund it.51 The urge to crack down on the breakout epidemic was such that the security of prisons worked against the aeration of facilities. At times, prison supervisors had to choose between security and aeration. Some favored security; others, like the supervisor of the prison in Tambacounda focused on both. When an inspector of Administrative Affairs visited that prison in 1940 and blasted the strong smell, promiscuity, and poor ventilation, much to the detriment of prisoners’ health, the director ordered prisoners to punch a few holes in the walls of the larger buildings rather than in the cells, claiming these later were built low above ground and cutting holes would allow inmates to easily escape.52 At other prisons, officials devised the best combination possible. In 1951, to curb flights at the prison at Saint-Louis, Bailly, the commandant of the cercle of Bas-Sénégal strengthened prison rules, granting access to the prison’s interior backyards and terraces to guards only at the expense of the prisoners’ physical daily exercise and promenades.53 He also suggested that prisoners assigned to outdoor works be manned by guards armed with guns. Other solutions included criminalizing escape and attempted escape throughout the entire federation of FWA. In 1927, the year with the highest recorded escapes, the government of FWA enacted a decree that stipulated in its Article 1 that: “inmates guilty of the misdemeanor of escape or attempt to escape will face an additional sixmonth prison sentence.”54 This might have been a robust response, but the punishment lacked a judicial base and failed to be enforced as authorities had anticipated. In 1926, indeed, the governor-general of FWA penned another decree that instructed that prison escape be criminalized as a misdemeanor



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and defendants be tried before a tribunal de second degré. Later that year, however, when the commandant of Thiès sentenced some inmates to additional prison time for attempted escape, the appeal court overturned the verdict, arguing that prison escape was not listed as a criminal offense in the penal code. This legal imbroglio later weighed heavily on measures to curb the bursts of escapes. These included sanctions against guards. Escapees and their accomplices, in most case prison guards, were charged with violation of prison rules. Colonial authorities repeatedly faulted guards for negligence and for being corrupted by inmates. As early as 1890, criticisms circulated that wardens were accountable for flights that perturbed the few existing prisons in Senegal. When three prisoners fled from the prison at Dakar in 1890, Eugene Maquard, the head of the colony’s Justice Department who investigated the incident wrote: “there was no sign of breaking because the lock of the room where prisoners were held was not busted, same for the iron bars on the windows. A kind person simply opened the door for them.”55 Reports on the rising number of escapes in the late 1920s indicated that half of these are attributable to wardens.56 In the 1930s, similar criticism was voiced across the colony. In 1939, the commandant of Thiès brought to the attention of Governor Parisot the persistent slackness of prison guards despite endless warnings.57 Criticism toward guards was so serious and damaging that in 1943, Merlhe, the commander of the federal unit of the gardes de cercles of FWA, did not hesitate to summon the governor of Senegal to fix the problem. It was brought to my attention that in the prisons of the cercles the keys to the quarters are kept by night guards who are corrupted by prisoners or sympathized with them. And when they are on duty, they open the door to their protégés, give them food or allow them to sleep outdoors. Multiple escapes occurred in such circumstances. This should not be happening if the chief-guard would be the only one to hold the keys and open the doors to inmates. I will issue new decrees to be distributed to all commandants of cercles who in return would make sure they are enforced.58

As the number of escapes continued to hit another crescendo after 1927, guards were also criticized for their poor attitude. This argument squares with this statement from the commandant of Tambacounda who wrote in 1938: “in Senegal, we have to admit the low mentality of gardes cercles who have informal relations with prisoners. In Sudan, I saw groups of fifteen or eighteen prisoners manned by two wardens only while working outdoors and escape was uncommon because prison guards had a different mindset.”59 Having seen results in Sudan, the commandant pushed for severe punitive measures to bolster guards’ sense of duty in Senegal. Negligent guards risked

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sanctions ranging from temporary layoff, pay cut to revocation, and in some cases, prison sentences. Penalizing prison guards for the occurrence of escape implies the administration’s failure to resolve a matter that gave headaches to its officials. The evidence, however, shows that guards could not be entirely blamed for the problem. Rising escapes meant more need for prison guards. However, there was a critical shortage of guards, an enduring issue that could be traced back to the first prisons. When prisons first emerged in the 1820s, the shortage of wardens was obvious, and the small size of the prison population was an obvious reason why. A lack of skilled, trained military troops in the colony accounted for the shortage too. The pressing need for military troops to assume the task of stabilizing the newly conquered and pacified territories rattled by mounting episodes of resistance against French rule prompted the minister of the Marine to dramatically reduce the number of Tirailleurs that worked as night guards at the prisons at Saint-Louis and Dakar by 1891.60 According to Myron Echenberg, “demand for soldiers outstripped supply, particularly in the active years of conquest in the 1890s.”61 When the unit of gardes de cercles was created after the division of Senegal into cercles, or administrative districts, in 1912, prison guards were mainly drafted from that corps. Nonetheless, their numbers remained low throughout the colonial period, thus impeding the management of prisons in the process. As high numbers of escapes alarmed prison directors, they incessantly urged the administration to hire or divert more guards to bigger prisons. In 1938, the director of the Louga penal camp desperately asked for additional guards to curb recurrent escapes. His request came after 38 prisoners of the 90 incarcerated at the camp that year escaped. Merlhe, commandant of the gardes de cercles unit argued that to satisfy the request, he would have to pull those guards from rural prisons, which were already understaffed. He stated that Senegal had a total of 322 prison guards in service and they were assigned according to a budget.62 Sorting out the shortage of guards at the Lougal camp, Merlhe suggested that the director consider a number of different options to strengthen safety and surveillance: replace corrupted guards, boost the night service to fifteen guards; house guards and their families in facilities close to the camp; and provide them with horses to hunt down runway prisoners.63 He also proposed putting prisoners on a strenuous regime of public works tasks to keep them busy all day, so when they returned to the camp at night, they would lack the energy to escape. Merlhe also strongly recommended coercive measures against prisoners including punitive cells, shackles, smaller portions of food, locking up inmates in security-proof facilities at night, and isolating troublemakers.64 In the end, short of recommendations, he denied the request, turning the Louga penal camp into a reservoir of fugitives. As the persistent shortage of guards



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affected all prisons, leaving certain prison directors baffled by the seriousness of the problem, Merlhe changed course and dispatched ten guards of his unit to the Louga camp in mid-1938. A week later, tangled with cracking down on escapes and satisfying demands for troops from other colonial agencies, he sent the ten guards back to Dakar, justifying his decision on their youth and lack of experience in manning prisons. By and large, his underlying reason boils down to a problem of supply and demand. He admitted that he was fifty-five soldiers short of meeting demands from other agencies and that twenty troops from his unit were already in service in Louga.65 What is true is that when it came to prisons, Merlhe was largely cutting into bone, not fat. The absence of a corps of professional prison workers left the administration with no other options than to fill guard positions with gendarmes, gardes de cercles, and Tirailleurs who had little to no prison expertise. Frustrated with failed measures to crack down on escapes and to adequately staff prisons, top administration officials including Merlhe were desperately left with a measure of retaliation. In 1938, Merlhe, who seemed to have had the greatest impact upon the recruitment of prison workers, proposed that old weapons, which had no deterrent effect on prisoners be replaced with real bullets, an idea quickly scorned by the administration.66 The governor of Senegal blasted the proposal and ordered that guards be supplied only with rubber bullets, which he believed would deter prisoners better while making guards more vigilant. He ruled out the use of real bullets except when necessary to quell collective rebellions or outside attacks. Finally, the governor advised that white officers only be given real bullets.67 The evidence suggests, however, before the late 1930s, runaway prisoners were secretly shot with real bullets. A report on an attempted collective prison break in Diouloulou, in the cercle of Casamance in 1924, confirmed the killing of a prisoner by a real bullet fired by a guard during the incident.68 Although an isolated one, it seems reasonable to argue that this incident illuminates the many instances of insubordination in the colonial prisons, proving anew that African prisoners were not as passive as allegedly assumed. As the shortage of prison guards is evident, too was that of weapons necessary to assist them in their duties. These shortages garnered further attention from the administration, which in what can be described as a desperate move, decided to use dogs and horses rather than humans to man prisoners. Surprisingly in 1939, Governor Parisot asked the commandant of the cercle of Tambacounda, in the eastern part of Senegal known for its large dog and horse populations, to send to the penal camps six laobé dogs, which were known for their fierceness. The dogs were used to go after prisoners when they tried to escape. He also requested horses to be sent to the camp to help guards patrol the camp and surroundings and prevent escapes. The decision was driven in

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his words by the slackness of guards who seemed unbothered by the barrages of breakouts.69 This new measure, however, proved ineffective given that on May of 1939, Aladji Faye, a prisoner, stole the horse given to the director to bolt from the Ndande penal camp.70 Although officials blamed guards for escapes, in truth, widespread failures by the administration has eroded the ability to crack down on escapes. Some officials admitted their failures but blamed it on difficulties in containing dangerous prisoners, mainly those in penal camps, branded as candidates for escape. They argued that “unless they were shackled on their legs, it was quite impossible to prevent them from escaping.”71 Yet, despite demonizing prisoners in the penal camps, authorities amplified their message to keep them in those institutions because of the dire need for labor. There was no substance to their blame until Mrs. Lucas, a European woman, was attacked by a convict who had escaped from the Louga penal camp, prompting the federal government to act more effectively. In 1938, indeed, the government of Senegal attracted the criticism of Lefebvre, governor-general of FWA, after he received a secret letter attributing the attack on Mrs. Lucas to the absence of European officers at the camp and the slackness of native guards.72 The great colonial cliché in Senegal was that native guards were inherently incapable of manning fellow African prisoners. And in the most sensible move by colonial officials, Lefebvre suggested a “whitening” of prison staff or replacing negligent native guards with white officers to solve the problem. The presence of white officers did little to change the situation; they were in small numbers and served only as prison directors. So, the bulk of prison workers remained unskilled native guards. As the numerous measures to crack down on escape seemed ineffective, the administration designed cash rewards as a last-ditch effort.73 The rewards, offered to any native who helped or unmasked an escapee, sounded appealing; however, they did not spark the expected results. What they seem to have sparked is, in contrast, a contraband business. In 1938, an investigation revealed that to fund their escapes, inmates in the penal camps simply sold their food supplies, clothes, and blankets to nearby dwellers who seemingly were not interested in the cash rewards.74 Helpless, prison officers relied on what they believed was the best antidote to escape: shackles, which allegedly were banned after Inspector Monguillot entered the picture in 1936 and painted a murky portrait of prison conditions, expressing shock that prisoners in Senegal were still chained up. In 1939, some administrators still believed in the power of shackles to discourage would-be fugitives.75 Although the range of measures to crack down on escapes was thought to be effective, they did little to nothing to ease the problem. Instead, they may have stimulated more forms of resistance, turning the colonial prisons into sites of confronta-



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tions, protests, and intrigues. What makes African responses to imprisonment in colonial Senegal more interesting was prison escape was accompanied by more serious acts of resistance to prisons. THE UNHIDDEN WORLD OF THE COLONIAL PRISONS: THE AFRICAN PRISONERS’ WAY OF LIFE In colonial Senegal, prisoners remained very outspoken about what they believed was wrong with the penal system. This section discusses how they turned colonial prisons into sites of confrontation, protest, and intrigue. I have gleaned the evidence mainly from letters and petitions written by inmates and annual prison reports produced by colonial officials. They provide a vivid picture of the unhidden world of the colonial prisons from prisoners’ perspectives. But, let me briefly distinguish them, for there is a real distinction between the two types of sources. The letters and petitions are, by turns, expressive, interesting, and detailed, illuminating about detention conditions, abuse, racial discrimination, inadequate facilities, and the struggle to address these issues. Thus, a lot is known of imprisonment in colonial Senegal. In contrast, the annual prison reports are general in scope and relate to major problems emerging in all prisons. They are produced by colonial officials who have no contact with prisoners or rely on what they were told by prison officials and staff. However, both sources have some significant social and political overtones as they evidence the way in which imprisonment was lived, felt, understood, and experienced. In French Senegal, the colonial cliché of the passive African inmate who accepts his fate and serves his sentence in silence in a cold, unventilated, and dark dormitory is fraught with episodes of revolts and collective resistance. Prisoners continuously challenged the system and their responses to imprisonment are as different as the prison regimes and conditions they were subjected to. Responses to imprisonment were on display throughout the entire colonial period as prisoners were quick to turn their detention conditions and discriminatory and abusive practices into weapons by persistently challenging prison rules. This is attested to by the fact that as early as 1890, growing signs of unrest rattled the few existing prisons in the colony. In 1893, Governor De Lamothe ordered the commandant of the cercle of Bas-Senegal, which SaintLouis was part of, to restore order at the prison at Saint-Louis after some military prisoners threatened to revolt.76 Failing to identify the motives of the incident, the commandant, here my only source, attributed it, without further elaboration, to unruly civilian inmates. Another episode occurred at the same prison in 1895 when some inmates mutinied, beating a prison guard to death.77

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No further evidence exists to attest if this latest incident involved civilian or military prisoners. What is clear, however, is the relationship between prisoners and staff at the prison at Saint-Louis was tense in the late 1890s. As prisons spread across the colony, so did the seeds of prison unrest. In truth, episodes of revolts plagued the colonial prisons, contributing to a growing sense of insecurity. For example, in August 1920, the prison in Dakar witnessed a two-day riot that involved some originaires inmates. The rioters, who were serious about their treatment as befitted by their status as French citizens, demanded to be put on the same diet given to European inmates. Their request came after they discovered that they were given less food. To satisfy their demand, the director of the prison let them test out the food but denied their request to cook their own meals. Angry, the originaires wrote a petition sent to the colonial administration via the souscommissaire of prisons who stopped the mail, and, in retaliation, punished them by cutting out regular family visits. Prisoners strongly protested the measure, claiming that family visit was a right bestowed by prison rules.78 As he met with the rioters to resolve the matter, Légerot, the director of the prison, pulled a gun from his pocket and handed it over to his aide. At the sight of the gun, the prisoners rushed the guard who never got the chance to get the weapon, while others kicked at and punched Légerot, taking the gun from him. Throughout the day, inmates threatened to shoot at anybody who made a move. Escalating, the incident sent shudders down the spines of the personnel and top officers after what started as an uprising among originaires expanded to involve native prisoners who were of French subject status. The originaires were greeted by a shout of enthusiasm when these latter refused to work in their support. Order was finally restored after Bernard, the delegate of the government, met with inmates who agreed to resume their work. Because the prison in Dakar was the largest in Senegal, the uprising may have helped Bernard to reiterate his suggestion to extend it and transfer all military prisoners incarcerated at Saint-Louis to Dakar.79 Four years after the incident, Dakar welcomed a brand new built prison instead. The uprising could not be solely attributed to prisoners’ complaints about their diet, neither was it an isolated incident. It occurred at a time of unrest in Senegal and should, therefore, be considered in conjunction with such unrest. In the second decade of the twentieth, Dakar and other cities in Senegal witnessed strikes involving urban workers seeking better pay.80 According to Alice Conklin, in the 1920s, French officials witnessed growing signs of unrest in West Africa. The center for such discontent, she argues, was Senegal where Blaise Diagne demanded, “that the government general granted the originaires of the Four Communes the same rights and the same access to jobs as Europeans and extend political rights of the Four Communes to the



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inhabitants of the rest of Senegal.”81 Diagne’s demands found a natural home in the colonial prisons where originaires inmates were also fired up in their fight for equality with European prisoners. They saw his demands for what they were: not just a call for equality with French citizens in the metropole, but France’s respect and commitment to the status of the originaires. Indeed, it’s safe to say that the orginaires were the most outspoken prisoners in colonial Senegal and their complaints are standard considering the struggle for French citizenship in the Four Communes. They used their French citizenship as a backdrop for what they billed as their unfair treatment, namely the violations of the provisions of the Law of September 29, 1916. This text extends the provisions of the law of October 19, 1915, to descendants of the originaires living outside the Four Communes. It said: “the natives of the communes de plein exercise of Senegal and their descendants are and remain French citizens subject to the military obligations contained in the law of October 1915, which allowed the originaires to serve in the French army.82 Conklin reminds us that the French parliament was unaware of the implications of making the originaires and their descendants French citizens now and forever more.83 Not surprisingly, the implications and repercussions of the law find a breeding ground in the colonial prisons where the originaires enthusiastically join the fight for French citizenship. As discussed previously, systemic racial segregation marked prisons in Senegal, and it is not difficult to image the fight originaires put in to address it. Antagonized, they voice their unfair treatment through petitions, and protest letters, and in some cases, through overt actions. When it comes to resisting imprisonment, no one can accuse them of lacking a certain sense of timing. They used, indeed, the fight for citizenship that brew in the Four Communes in the 1920s to expose their detention conditions. Thus, between 1917 and 1925, originaires inmates reached out to colonial and local authorities as evidenced in the following stories. In 1918, Saliou N’Diaye, an originaire at the prison at Saint-Louis, wrote to the governor of Senegal, demanding to be put on the European regime as befitted by his status. In 1919, he wrote another letter, this time to the general secretary of the government, reiterating his request. In it, he openly admitted that Mr. Griévan, the prison doctor, mailed out his first letter on his behalf.84 Four months later, Ndiaye reached out to the governor again, insisting that it’s the seventh letter he sent to him, and wondered why he did not respond. In that letter, he noted both the régisseur of the prison and general secretary of the government explained that the governor was the only one who could grant his request.85 As his frustration hit a crescendo, he challenged the governor’s authority. In a new letter, N’Diaye asked him why his orders were enforced at the prison in Dakar, and not in Saint-Louis where he was transferred to.86

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In 1919, Ndiaye found unity and hope in his fight when he was joined by another originaire, Youssou Gaye, also serving time in Saint-Louis. They both persistently asked to be put on a European diet in compliance with the decree of September 29, 1916. They explained that they were better treated in Dakar, but it all changed after their transfer to Saint-Louis where the director violated the aforesaid law by jam-packing them with native prisoners.87 Around the same time, Boubacar Sarr, another originaire inmate in Saint-Louis, joined the chorus of protesters. He wrote four letters to the governor, voicing similar complaints.88 In 1923, the originaires spoke with a single voice when they reached out to the general secretary of the government, grumbling about their food, which they stated, “smells like gasoline.”89 What all these prisoners have in common is how imprisonment entangled with and restricted their French citizenship status; that there is some difference between their status as prisoners and as French citizens. Through their complaints, they exposed the reality of their imprisonment or what they called the “unfairness of their condition,”90 promoting local authorities to intervene. In 1919, Telemaque Camara, a Saint-Louis-based African lawyer, penned a three-page long letter to Angoulvant, then governor-general of FWA, drawing attention to the perceived injustice in the violation of the originaires’ rights to a European regime. The injustice, he wrote, refuted the principles of humanism, justice, and equality the French advocated in Senegal.91 After Camara’s intervention, Babacar Sarr and Youssouf Gaye extended their reach to the mayor of SaintLouis who, on their behalf, transmitted their request to the governor of Senegal,92 and to Francois Carpot, a former representative of Senegal to the French Parliament.93 Banking on his position, Sarr and Gaye believed that Carpot, a protector of the rights of native populations, would support their cause due to his strong stance against France’s assimilation policy in Senegal. Carpot believed that “France’s entire approach to governing was to treat them (originaires) as French citizens each time it was a question of obligation and duties, and to treat them (originaires) as subjects each time it was a question of rights and privileges.”94 Elsewhere in Senegal, tensions may also have risen out of the agitations by originaire inmates who remained determined in their fight for equality with European counterparts. In 1925, at the prison at Kaolack, they faulted the director for ignoring their demands. One of them, Amadou Kane, decried their sleeping conditions as “worse than in the brush.”95 Instead of responding to their complaints, administration officials were, of course, outraged. They viewed the question of rights—whether prisoners’ rights or French citizenship rights—as dangerous while deeming the originaires as politically toxic. After Amadou Kane and his fellow inmates voiced their complaints, Court, the director of the Kaolack prison, wrote to his superior,



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the commandant of Sine-Saloum, expressing fear that their agitations would incite an uprising. To root out their influence on native prisoners, he wrote: For the natives, the prison is a paradise because they get free food and cozy beds. There is currently in the prison a group of demanding and unruly prisoners and I mean the originaires. They frequently grumble about anything and refuse to work. It would be safer to transfer all them to Dakar or Saint-Louis. In doing so, we get rid of people who are treated better than other natives whom they are not different because they are of the same color and from the same country, a fact the orginaires refused to admit.96

Although the originaires discussed here are not political prisoners, their complaints bear some political overtones because they raise fundamental questions about their rights as prisoners and as French citizens. Their stories are not uncommon; they build on the struggle for French citizenship that was brewing in the Four Communes. However, they are a glimpse into the reality of imprisonment in colonial Senegal. Because the world of colonial prisons in Senegal was a mystery to us, the originaires present to us a world that was discriminatory, and it strikes us with reality and truth, but not surprise. Whether discussing their conditions—diet or living conditions—they consistently refer to themselves as originaires, emphasizing their citizenship status, and with good reason. They were to be incarcerated with European counterparts and treated similarly, not to be mingled with native prisoners. In this sense, they support their claims with a point. By raising their citizenship rights behind bars, they add another layer to the controversial issue of citizenship in FWA while raising the entwined issues of prisoners’ rights and citizenship rights. Throughout the remainder of the colonial period and beyond Saint-Louis, prisoners never shied away from their desire to change the prison system, finding strength in the power of writing. Their letters and petitions became a constant reminder that mistreatment and discrimination could no longer be tolerated, and when they happened, they were openly condemned as in these next cases. In 1930, for instance, the governor-general of FWA received a letter from an inmate, known only as A. C., who denounced that he was shackled on the legs and confined in a punitive cell for four consecutive days without knowing the reason.97 In 1940, another prisoner identified as D. N. wrote a letter to the governor of Senegal, voicing similar abuses. He detailed how he was mistreated like a “dog because he was forced to shower in his room instead in a bathroom.”98 Yet, embedded in prisoners’ letters and petitions and evident in their determination to fight for improved conditions were hints of patriotism despite the crude reality of their imprisonment. The next

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example is a case in point. In Saint-Louis, originaires inmates known only as A. D, A. S., and A. G, reached out to the governor of Senegal, pleading for their release to join the army in the name of France in 1939 when World War II broke out. They clearly explained that the rejection of their request release by the prison director and the general secretary of the government simply violated the Decree of September 1, 1939. This law stipulated the release of French citizens and subjects with military duties sentenced to less than six months in prison.99 Over the next decades, this strong patriotism never faded away, showcasing anew the political overtones in Africans’ responses to imprisonment. In the aftermath of Senegal’s access to national sovereignty, Doudou Fall and his fellow inmates at the prison in Saint-Louis penned a touching letter to the commission on prison sentences in 1960. In the missive, they expressed a keen interest about the political changes that occurred in Senegal and emphasized ardent desire to participate in the formation of the new nation, hoping that their penal status would not be an obstacle.100 By 1960, prisons had existed in Senegal for 140 years, but those decades had done little to improve detention conditions. During all those decades, revolts and protests occurred repeatedly, calling into scrutiny prison regimes and the treatment of prisoners across the colony. It is safe to say that prison unrest was associated with disciplinary and treatment practices enforced in each prison. Also, there is no doubt that the connection between prison unrest and types of prison regimes in colonial Senegal is telling of the extent to which responses to imprisonment were shaped by inmates’ personal status and other circumstances. Most unrest occurred in prisons with the harshest living conditions. For instance, in 1935, the prison in Saint-Louis witnessed a revolt bred by prisoners serving long sentences. It took the form of a hunger strike that was anchored around the director’s refusal to let them drink their regular homemade morning tea and his threat to point his gun at them when they refused to work. The protesters refused to eat until they could talk to the commandant of the cercle of BasSenegal, who also had jurisdiction over the city of Saint-Louis. Two days later, they called off the strike after the commandant agreed to meet up with them.101 Yet, they wrote a lengthy letter to give their side of the story. They faulted no one except Gaillard, the régisseur of the prison whom they described “as their bête noire who turns their life into a nightmare.” They wrote: We have been under the management of five consecutive directors, but our incarceration worsened when Gaillard became the new director. Some among us are currently serving twenty, fifteen, seven, and five years in prison while others have served half of their sentences and we never felt mistreated. Now we are stressed by Gaillard’s rules.102



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Surprisingly there are many sides to the story. For instance, the originaires inmates unanimously deny any involvement. Fighting back, they singled out the natives as instigators of the strike. In the defensive, they wrote: We do not have any complaints against Mr. Gaillard. Instead, we praise him for what he does for us. Many among us have served sentences in other prisons and were badly mistreated. The special treatment we enjoy here in Saint-Louis would never be allowed anywhere. We are blessed to have Mr. Gaillard as director and wish he remains as such until the end of our sentences.103

Reflecting the controversial French assimilation policy that distinguishes originaires from the natives in Senegal, this type of reaction was not uncommon and can be traced back to the first prison populations. When in 1895, inmates mutinied at the prison in Saint-Louis, beating a guard to death, Fodié Saloumé, Papa Camara, Amadou Guèye, Mamady Biéye, Samba Ségue Sarré, Magathe Ndiaye, Salif Diakhaté, and Pierre Faye, all originaires, asked to be separated from the rioters, claiming their innocence. The ways in which originaires and native prisoners clarify their involvement in the incident shows again the extent to which the assimilation policy even impacted colonial prisons in Senegal. Over the years, inmates continued to decry harsh prison conditions, and they put them in writing. Their complaints came quickly and from all prisons. In 1938, the governor of Senegal received a letter from inmates at the prison in Thiès. In the letter, inmates detailed how they were beaten, treated like animals, and denied permission to meet with the commandant of the cercle to discuss ways to improve their conditions. They demonized guards as “their worst enemies who made their sentences harsher.”104 The same year, similar complaints put a stain on the management of the Géoul penal camp, near the town of Louga. Working on the construction site of the section Louga-Géoul road, some convicts successively penned two letters to Governor Parisot, imploring him to end the abuses they were subjected to, abuses that coalesced into the one word in the letter that was most expressive of their mistreatment: “hell.”105 They also claimed of being robbed of regular family visits. To inmates, only one person was to blame: the director of the camp. Fearing his retaliation, they wrapped their letter, begging the governor to conceal it.106 There is no doubt that in French Senegal, penal camps offer the best ground to explore correlations between prison unrest and prison regimes. Between 1931, the year of their creation and 1939, the year of their reorganization, penal camps were plagued by violent incidents of many kinds. These incidents, however, should be considered in conjunction with the colonial state’s excessive demand for labor to carry out its numerous

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public works projects, labor shouldered by the camps’ residents. So, it’s not difficult to think of the way convicts in penal camps responded to imprisonment. This implies that the manner of those responses was consistent with how these institutions were thought of and run. What is clear is that the atmosphere in penal camps was a trigger for unrest. In January 1939, for instance, the Ndande penal camp witnessed a mutiny planned the day after its director told prisoners that a chief-policy was coming to take pictures to be used to ID them.107 That night, prisoners secretly removed pieces of wood from their beds and buried them in the prison courtyard. The evidence reveals that “early in the morning the next day, inmates began manifesting their discontent, exhibiting full hatred,” a fact that alarmed the director who wrote: “when the photography session began, prisoners were excessively hostile and irreverent.” The mutiny report reads: The inmate Fily Diakaté instigates the mutiny by attacking the photographer who was also assaulted by a group of inmates who smashed the prison’s wiredfence to fly projectiles on his car. Then a fight broke out between inmates and guards. Helpless, these latter regain control of the situation after some detainees came to their rescue.

It is safe to say that the photography session may have sparked the mutiny. Yet, it emboldened inmates who, on May 31, five months later, rioted again, except this time, they shifted the blame on guards, accusing them of mistreatment. Despite their push for change in the management of the camp in the aftermath of the first mutiny, inmates faulted the director for failing to take actions. His inaction raised alarm with them, and about a month before their second uprising, they capitalized on the first one to sound a loud alert to him and guards. Badara Faye, an inmate nicknamed Alioune Sow, penned on behalf of his fellow inmates a long letter to the governor of Senegal, decrying all the violations and irregularities in the management of the camp. He wrote: We, the native prisoners at the Ndande penal camp, respectfully bring to your attention several issues that necessitate a complete shakeup of the camp. Since August 1938, Sergeant Abdoulaye Sarr, who was appointed to deal with the chaos that drowned the prison, proves ineffective because countless escapes, disgusting diet, and widespread frustration all occur under his watch. After numerous complaints, a European gendarme was picked as director. Surprisingly, things got worse as ongoing retaliation and mistreatment spark more escapes. Don’t be surprised if a revolt like the one that happened lately takes place. No one is to be blamed, but the commandant of the cercle of Louga. Also, about a month ago, two inmates got into a brawl and were immediately separated by guards who instead of resolving the dispute simply flogged one of the inmates

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who tries to kill himself to contain his pain. It is surprising that someone who stands for the French Republic would dare to violate its principles of civilization. There are more secrecies you would never suspect take place in the camp. We are willing to settle down at the sole condition that our rights be respected. The camp would improve and undisturbed for the sake of the guards’ authority as well as ours. Signed, Faye Badara.108

The letter stands as a very important step in the inmates’ efforts to bring to light the core problem of the penal camp system in the colony. It was a dire warning to the administration. Driven by strong dissatisfaction with the atmosphere in the camp, inmates weaponized their mistreatment to press for much-needed changes, and their message was clearly spelled out. If the letter was an effort to intimidate prison officials, it did because inmates kept the momentum. On May 1939, just about a month after it was mailed out, another revolt rocked the camp. The choice of a letter to voice inmates’ grievances did expose their hardship, yet the value of the letter rests on the fact that in it, inmates questioned France and its civilizing mission, criticizing the commandant’s approval of flogging, which they considered as an anathema to the fundamental of values of that mission. An investigation of the mutiny triggered by the photography session that occurred in January 1939 as mentioned above, seems to provide corroboration of their claims. That mutiny caused an uproar, prompting the administration to dispatch Colonial Inspector Lassale-Séré to Ndande to investigate it. The inspector published a lengthy report that laid bare what seems to be the underlying reasons for the uprising. The thick cloud of hostility in the camp thickened when LassaleSéré visited it and described its atmosphere as chaotic. “Restoring order proves difficult because the camp is drowned in chaos,” he wrote. Prisoners, he remarked, “manipulate sergeant Tiémoko Diakité and pay no attention to his superior Samba Camara.” This latter handed too much authority to Diakité and chose to remain silent. The inspector also seemed to take aim at the director of the camp, writing that “as the only European officer, he lives outside the camp in fear of his life and has limited contact with the inmates he is supposed to supervise.”109 In regard of his investigation, the second mutiny was somewhat expected given that the Ndande penal camp was the largest camp in colonial Senegal and the guards were corrupted. Moreover, the only European officer living outside the camp was a liability because he was ceding ground to the prisoners. In a final note, Lassale-Séré blamed the director, guards, and prisoners for what he said was plaguing the Ndande penal. What is undeniable is that penal camps in French Senegal were hubs for insubordination that branched off in other prisons. There, escapes and revolts were the norm rather than the exception. Surprisingly, from the time

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they created the penal camps in the early 1930s until they left Senegal in 1960, the colonial administration held on to their robust argument to transfer inmates deemed troublemakers to the camps. Like mutinies, refusal to work became a shared form of resistance in colonial prisons. Earlier, I discussed the 1935 revolt at the Saint-Louis prison where inmates went on a hunger strike and refused to work for two days. Similarly, during the 1920 riot at the prison in Dakar, native inmates boycotted work in support of their fellow originaires. With these cases, makes no mistake that refusal to work was a consequence or an immediate reaction to prison unrest. It also took on an individual form. Self-mutilation, selfintoxication with toxic plants, faking illness or psychological problems, rubbing ashes and plants on wounds and cuts to prevent healing seemed to be effective tactics to avoid work or be exempted from it.110 The evidence is replete of these practices. Senegalese historian Babacar Bâ comments that in 1940 an inmate in the N’Dande penal camp was accused of self-mutilating himself with a machete a couple of days after he arrived at the camp. Later, he suffered from conjunctivitis diagnosed by the camp doctor as “a provoked disease.” Bâ also cites the case of “Momar Aw incarcerated at Ndande but was later transferred to the Kaolack penal camp after several attempts of self-mutilation.”111 From one case to another, the evidence is telling and overwhelming. In 1942, the head of the medical service of the district of Tivaoune, in the Thiès region, concluded that “a deliberate intoxication” might have caused the death of thirty-seven inmates in the district’s prison.” His conclusion came after he found no pathological evidence for the deaths.112 Another common tactic to duck work was the practice of eating or drinking toxic plants and beverages to cause vomiting. There is little doubt that protests, uprisings, petitions, letters of protests, refusal to work, and similar practices represented serious challenges and remarkable responses to the colonial enterprise of imprisonment and the mission of the prison in French Senegal. Interestingly enough, they also emboldened inmates to make their prison experiences livable, redefining prison rules to their advantage. SURVIVING COLONIAL IMPRISONMENT: CREATING NORMALCY This section focuses on the encounters between prisoners and prison staff. It also looks at various survival strategies devised by inmates to create normalcy in the chaotic world of prisons in French Senegal. In his article, The View from Makana, a review of books about South African prisons, C. J. Driver discusses what he calls “normalities,” or routines of prisons, which



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included “homosexuality, narks, the pettiness of warders, the need to cooperate if you wish to survive the system, but the equal need to cheat the system if you are to retain self-respect.”113 These “normalities” were not an exception in the colonial prisons in Senegal. The evidence leaves no doubt that imprisonment in French Senegal was unpleasant and harsh. Therefore, it shaped the ways in which inmates redesigned or transformed the institution. The quality of life behind bars incited inmates to create a sense of normalcy in a world of colonial prisons that was defined by everything but order. For some inmates, a sense of normalcy meant accommodation to prisons conditions, which implies a state of personal and social equilibrium in relation to the demands of prison life. For others, it entailed compliance with the dictates of prison staff to escape severe disciplinary practices. Creating a sense of normalcy was also anchored around inside and outside networks of collaboration, corruption, and scheming. These survival strategies show, however, that inmates in colonial Senegal were united in their strong resistance and responses to imprisonment, but on how they defined and created their own sense of normalcy they were not, in fact, united in practice. In French Senegal, prisoners seemed to always engage in activities that broke prison rules. Was their attitude symptomatic of the tense encounters between French and natives or was it just a reaction to their conditions? In 1895, when inmates mutinied at the prison in Saint-Louis and beat a guard to death, the colony’s interior director directed that all their belongings, including their clothing, be confiscated as a measure of punishment. A few days later, inmates sent him a letter, expressing anger at the mistreatments to which they were subjected. They wrote: We are aware that prison rules prohibit prisoners from keeping certain items, but the director was very kind to allow us to keep our belongings. Nevertheless, let us tell you that those things are useful for our everyday care or to earn a little money.114

Apparently, the inmates seemed upset by the loss of the only resource that seemingly helped them cope with their situation: their belongings, which in their words, were also a money-making business. It’s safe to guess that they traded those belongings. Despite strict prison rules, which they believed were not that strict, inmates in colonial Senegal proved to be very skilled in entertaining and relaxing themselves against the torments of prison life. Top administration officials bluntly admitted that drinking, smoking, and gambling, which apparently were illegal, did help detainees survive their prison experience. In 1890, Eugene Maquard, the colony’s justice department head, stated the excessive use of tobacco smoking at the prison in Dakar. According

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to him, “it was to such an extent that he became fitted into the regulations.” It was also so widely permitted that an inmate wrote him, grumbling about the director who took away his smoking pipe. Maquard also discovered that inmates assigned to outdoor tasks were frequently spotted in town alone, drunk, and wandering around marketplaces, with no guards in sight. During his visit, he found in almost every room knives, clippers, and metal instruments of any kind certainly snuck in by inmates when they returned from their outdoor assignments. He wrote that “all locks and deadlocks in the prison were unbolted, a reason why escapees were frequent.115 Maquard’s findings point to everything but a prison. Fast-forward twenty-six years later, the scenario remained the same at the prison. In 1916, the members of the surveillance committee of the prison reported that during a visit, they found playing cards, scissors, and metal tools in rooms and dormitories and “most of the objects were in plain sight while playing cards were on evidence on sleeping racks.”116 Not surprisingly, permitting cigarette smoking backfire. In 1937, a fire destroyed half of the Louga penal camp after two inmates left their burning cigarettes unattended. However, the blame for the fire came in a form of accusation against the public works service, which according to André, the commandant of Louga, supplied cigarettes to convicts who smoked in their rooms, thus causing fires.117 The violation of prison rules discussed above proved difficult to rein in because inmates’ close and formal contact with nearby communities exacerbated it. Interesting enough to say that in French Senegal, prisoners and their neighbors were daily companions. Creating normalcy to cope with prison life also resonated outside the prison walls. Contacts with nearby communities took place within a context of what I call prison or inmate networking. For instance, some prisoners were caught selling their food supplies to nearby dwellers, hanging out with them, roaming at night unsupervised, and visiting families. This was so common that in 1930 Governor-General Brévié of French West Africa wrote a letter to all governors of colonies and the administrator of Dakar, urging them to take swift actions against the lack of supervision of inmates. His remarks came after numerous reports surfaced that inmates were seen unsupervised and two inmates on outdoor duties killed a European officer. Brévié was concerned with the amount of freedom that prisoners enjoyed. He pointed out that “a chief-police shares his concerns with him after he spotted out some prisoners on the streets. Another time, he arrested a few inmates during a night roundup.”118 In 1938, an investigation on the barrages of escapes at the Ndande penal camp concluded that detainees sold their belongings to village dwellers to fund their escapes.119 This sentiment was widespread in the colonial circles. In March 1939, when Lassalle-Séré arrived at the Ndande camp to investigate a mutiny that broke out earlier that year, he wrote that inmates



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were seen purchasing goods with 100-francs bills and that every evening, five or six prisoners hung out and played cards with village dwellers.120 Assistance from and complicity of neighboring communities and inmates’ families were not uncommon or shocking. In 1925, Betchen, Kaolack chief-police, requested the transfer of a Syrian inmate to the prison in Saint-Louis. Confined in a room located outside the prison due to lack of space, he said, the inmate received daily visits from family members who also prepared his meals. He indicated he was tipped off by an informant that the innate was planning to escape with the help of his family to go live with his uncle in Argentina.121 In 1939, Diéméma Mboye, incarcerated in the Ndande penal camp, moved his family to a nearby village where he had other relatives. Showing signs of good behavior in prison, Mboye was trusted with mail delivery between the camp and the posts of Kébémer and Géoul. While in prison, he fathered two children with his wife who openly visited him in the camp.122 The same year, Sarayane Faye, another inmate spent days with his wife while a prison guard accommodated her.123 Common in penal camps, these practices also occurred in other prisons where guards could not resist the money. Creating normalcy also built on the kinds of relations inmates entertained with wardens. In prison literature, relationships between prisoners and guards are characterized by varying degrees of fear and suspicion, caution, and mistrust on either part. If this argument may be true in the colonial prisons in Senegal, it is nevertheless certain that the relationships between inmates and guards take on another level. The role of guards in helping prisoners create a sense of normalcy cannot be ignored. They also networked with prisoners, maintaining a narrow social distance; the evidence speaks to this fact. The evidence, as discussed earlier, suggests that prison guards were complicit in treating some prisoners better than others. In 1938, for instance, André, the commandant of Louga, wrote a lengthy report, claiming that at the Ndande penal camp, guards frequently handcuffed prisoners and would release them in exchange for money, compelling inmates to sell their food and belongings to pay for it.124 He insisted that the rules at the camp would be ineffective as long as guards continued to informally bond with inmates. He drew this conclusion after a local merchant from the nearby town of Kébémer made the following revelations: prisoners frequently accompanied guards on shopping trips; a guard gifted a prisoner with four meters of percale fabric; and chiefsergeant let prisoners stroll in Kébémer and surrounding villages, some fifteen kilometers away from the camp.125 The persistence of these activities and practices across the colony prompted Governor Hubert Deschamps to summon all administrators of the cercles, inspectors of Administrative Affairs, and the commandant of the unit of garde cercles, urging them to enforce prison rules in 1943.126 Some inmates echoed the authorities’ observations, adding that the

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complicity of guards with some prisoners ruined the atmosphere in the prisons. Most allegations from the inmates spoke loudly of guards’ rules of favoritism. In 1944, an anonymous letter secretly mailed out from the prison in SaintLouis detailed how the inmates Malick Faye, Malick Sy, and Madiaw bossed around other prisoners and ate with guards, enjoying delicious food such roasted meat and rice.127 The authors of the letter stated that Malick Sy, who was also employed in the prison’s records office for six years (from 1938 until 1944), purchased a caftan128 for 255 francs. He wore that outfit instead of his prison uniform, creating a sense of normalcy for himself. More importantly, the letter states that “at night guard Alimansa Konaté snuck into the quarter reserved for female prisoners and selected several women to spend the night with Faye, Sy, and Madiaw.” The letter further describes how “Tacko Ly, a female prisoner, was caught numerous times sleeping at night with Malick Sy.” Then the authors of the letter went on to reveal that “Fatou Tine, another female prisoner sentenced to six years in prison, became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. And then she was pressured by some guards and prisoners to name Demba Ndiaye, an ex-sergeant, as the baby’s father.” Sadly, Ndiaye could not defend himself because he passed away before Tine gave birth, a pertinent reason as why. In a final note, the letter blamed the chaos in the prison on the director who seemingly enabled it, by appointing “some exconvicts as heads the prison.”129 If they are the heads of the prison, isn’t it their job to run it? Similar practices and incidents routinely occurred elsewhere. At the Diourbel prison, “female inmates slept with guards while Amy Séne and Cheikhou Bigué Sy, two famous recidivists, had a baby boy together.”130 The irregularities of the architecture of the prisons, which failed to allow for a total separation of the sexes, together with the lack of security and overcrowding encouraged and spread sexual behaviors. Colonial sources are generally silent in the practice of homosexual activities, but reports showed that female prisoners suffered sexual harassment and abuse from both male inmates and guards. Assessing the role of female prisoners in this situation proves difficult. Did guards retaliate against them? Did they agree to provide sexual services as survival strategies? Or, did they long for a sexual life while behind bars? These questions could not be fully assessed without the help of oral testimonies from ex-female prisoners. In contrast to their male counterparts, female prisoners left little to no prison writings in colonial Senegal. They may exist, and if found could help elucidate their stories as far as the sexual harassment they suffered or were subjected to. To create normalcy, some inmates also socialized through networks of support. In the penal camps, for instance, inmates seemed very flexible and creative in creating normalcy. During a routine inspection, the director of the Ndande penal camp discovered the paperwork of a secret association ran by



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current and ex-prisoners from 1934 to 1939. In the words of its president, Amadou Diagne, the association welcomed membership from all the residents of the camp. The association was a mutual organization to help improve detention conditions, pay for fare trips to family members to visit them, and to purchase basic needs like clothing and food.131 It was sustained by weekly dues, yet members could request loans. To contribute, prisoners sold their supply of sugar, milk, and cola nuts to nearby dwellers and guards.132 The latter were in support of the association, as some of them were members too. Ex-inmates also held membership in the association and visited members still behind bars, mailed out messages, letters, requests for release or court appeals on their behalf, gave them money and food.133 Interesting evidence also reveals that in the colonial prisons in Senegal, some inmates held positions related to helping with bookkeeping, registry, office work, and in some cases, serving as guards.134 At the prison in Saint-Louis, the inmate Malick Sy worked for six years as a bookkeeper while his fellow inmate Malick Faye supervised the infirmary.135 Practical needs may have compelled the administration to use educated inmates, most of them originaires, to serve in various capacities in the prisons, as a measure to save money on staff. The negative representations associated with prisons in French Senegal is easy enough to understand. It lies in the fact that Africans came from prison-less societies, and they also had to grasp the reality of French rule that brought with it a new social and legal order, which they had to adjust to as well. There is no surprise that escape became the common response to imprisonment. Indeed, escape was a prime reality of inmates’ indifference to prison rules and a telling pattern of resistance to imprisonment. Despite the measures devised by colonial officials, including rewards to explain away their failures to curb or crack down on escapes, it’s interesting enough to see how much resistance to imprisonment emanates from prisoners. Through the barrages of escapes that crippled the colonial prisons, they challenge the legitimacy of imprisonment in French Senegal, and in the process of the colonial enterprise. Yet, escape interrupted the rhythms and culture of the colonial prisons nowhere as much as in the penal camps where a tornado of revolts swirled around. Inmates in those institutions were compelling in their eagerness to escape. Nonetheless, the core problem was the inadequacy of the architecture of prisons, which remained unchanged during the colonial period, inciting barrages of escapes. So, it suffices to say that the architecture of the colonial prisons does give us a way of encoding Africans’ responses to imprisonment. Also, it is more accurate to say that beyond responding to imprisonment in escape, riots, unrest, and mutiny, inmates present a prison life that was mysterious to us. To create a sense of normalcy in the colonial prisons, inmates needed to impose codes of corruption, accommodation, support,

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and networking, all in the name of survival. Similarly, their complicity with guards and nearby communities were embraced as survival strategies. Yet in other cases, the hostility between prisoners and guards was mutual, real, and authentic. In creating normalcy through acclimatization, accommodation, corruption, and socialization with nearby communities, prisoners in French Senegal defiled the prison system, thereby sowing doubt in the legitimacy of the French enterprise of imprisonment. The same can be said of the fight of originaire inmates who leveraged their French citizenship status to give support to their own concerns, but also to decry prison conditions in general. Their complaints roiled prisons in Saint-Louis, Dakar, Kaolack, and Ziguinchor, home to the only four French courts in the colony. Despite being behind bars, they brought their fight into the public eye. Through their letters and petitions, the originaires as much as any other prisoners in French Senegal were able to imprint their view on imprisonment in French Senegal. As key players in the resistance to imprisonment, their voices stretched way far beyond the walls and cells that surrounded them, their letters and petitions so attractive to local historians, and simultaneously not to colonial authorities. Thus, it’s safe to say Africans had a profound impact on imprisonment in colonial Africa in their efforts to subvert the system from every angle and means necessary. Moreover, the point is not only about the substance of their responses to imprisonment, but it is also the style of such responses: bold, expected, telling, and convincing. Finally, those responses make for a messy prison picture. NOTES 1.  Ordonnateur to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, September 17, 1836, 1836–1893, ANS 21G2. 2. The Originaires were the residents of the Four Communes of Senegal (Dakar, Saint-Louis, Rufisque, and Gorée) who were granted French citizenship in the 1830s. 3.  Director of the prison at Kaolack to the commandant of Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, April 28, 1925, ANS 3F/00079. 4.  Letter from prisoners serving long sentences to the general inspector of administrative affairs, Saint-Louis, September 10, 1935, ANS 3F/00096. 5.  Mahmood Mamdani, “Beyond Settler and Native as Political Identities: Overcoming the Political Legacy of Colonialism,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 43, no. 4 (October 2001): 652. 6. Chérif Daha Bâ, “Marginalité et exclusion: les comportements délictuels et criminels dans la vallée du Fouta, 1870–1970” (Thèse de 3ème cycle, UCAD, Histoire, 2002), 257. 7.  Gayatri C. Spivak “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Lawrence Grossberg et al. (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan Education, 1988): 283–98.



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8.  Michelle Perrot, Michel Foucault, and Maurice Aguhlon, eds., L’impossible prison: recherches sur le système pénitentiaire au XIXe siècle (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1980). 9.  Marie L. Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992), 6. 10.  In his book, the Jail Diary, Albie Sachs, a South African lawyer who refused to make a statement to the police and was later imprisoned at Robben Island, accounted of the 168 days he spent in solitary confinement. He recalled his release and his sixmile run through the streets of Cape Town and suburbs to the sea, actually into the sea fully dressed. C. J. Driver, “The View from Makana Island: Some Recent Prison Books from South Africa,” Journal Southern African Studies 2, no. 1 (1975): 117. 11.  Ousseynou Faye, “L’habillement et ses accessoires dans les milieux Africains de Dakar, 1875–1960,” Revue Sénégalaise d’Histoire 1 (1995): 69–86. 12. Ibrahima Thioub, “Sénégal: la prison à l’époque coloniale. Significations, évitements et évasions,” in Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique du 19e siècle à nos jours, ed. Florence Bernault (Paris: Éditions Karthala, 1999), 285. 13.  M’Baye Guèye, “Les transformations des sociétés Wolof et Sereer, de l’ère coloniale à la mise en place de l’administration coloniale, 1854–1920,” (Thèse de doctorat d’État, UCAD, Histoire, 990), 630. 14.  Garmi were among the highest members of royal families in the Wolof societies of Bawol and Kajoor. 15.  Guèye, “Les transformations des sociétés,” 631. 16.  Report on the Ndande penal camp, 1939, ANS 3F/00036. 17.  Thioub, “Sénégal,” 293. 18.  On Yaadikoon, see also Ouseynou Faye, “Domination coloniale et banditisme social à Dakar: le cas de Yaadikoon (1946–1959),” in Security, Crime and Segregation in West African Cities since the 19th Century, eds. Laurent Fourchard and Isaac O. Albert (Paris: Karthala, 2003), 207. 19.  Ibrahima Thioub, “Banditisme social and ordre colonial: Yaadikoon, 1922– 1984,” Annales de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines 22 (1992): 161–73. 20.  “Plus fort que Pierrot le Fou,” in Paris-Dakar, 23 Août 1956, 1. 21.  G. St J Orde Browne, “British Justice and the African: Part II,” Journal of the Royal African Society 32 (1933): 280. 22. Ibid., 281. But Orde-Browne underscored the fact that “a long sentence of the contrary is probably a severe ordeal for the African, even more so than for the European,” 284. 23.  Ralph E. S. Tanner, “The East African Experience of Imprisonment,” in African Penal Systems, ed. Alan Milner (London: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1969), 295. 24.  Prisons des cercles, Annual report, ANS, 3F/00106. 25.  Prisons des cercles, report of the commandant of Thiès, 1926, ANS 3F/00085. 26.  Report from Eugene Maquard, head of Senegal’s judicial department on the escape of three inmates at the prison at Dakar, Saint-Louis, March 1890, ANS 21G2. 27.  Inspector of administrative affairs to governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, November 5, 1927, ANS 3F/00095. 28. Report on the escapes at the Linguère prison, Linguère, October 17, 1934, ANS 3F/00095.

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29.  General secretary of the government to the commandant of Baol, Saint-Louis, September 26, 1936, ANS 3F/00096. 30.  Moretti: Mission on prisons in FWA, March 25, 1939, 10, ANOM 61COL633. 31.  Ibid., 20. 32. Governor Parisot to the commandant of Thiès, Thiès, November 18, 1939, ANS 3F/00109. 33.  Prisons des cercles. Rapport annuel, 1924, ANS 3F/00080. 34. Ibid. 35. Prisons des cercles. Report from the commandant of Thiès, December 13, 1935, ANS 3F/00114. 36.  Head of the Justice Department to the governor, 1878, ANS 3F00034. 37.  Report of the Surveillance Committee of the Dakar prison, Dakar, April 6, 1916, ANS 3F/00034. 38.  Administrator of Sédhiou to the commandant of Ziguinchor, April 24, 1924, ANS 3F/00107. 39.  Report of Thérond, Inspector of Administrative Affairs on the Podor prison, Podor, April 23, 1939, ANS 3F/00122. 40.  Monguillot: Mission d’inspection sur les services pénitentiaires du Sénégal, February 12, 1936, ANS 3F/00110. 41. Ibid. 42.  Head of Senegal’s Justice Department on escapes at the Dakar prison, SaintLouis, March 1890, ANS 21G2. 43.  Report on prison breakouts at the Linguère prison, Linguère, October 17, 1934, ANS 3F/00095. 44.  Governor to the commandants de cercles, Dakar, September 1943, ANS 3F/00107. 45.  “Plus fort que Pierrot Le Fou,” in Paris-Dakar, 5 Avril 1956, 1. 46.  Ibid., 1. 47.  “Les évasions spectaculaires dans les prisons de Dakar. Un lieutenant de Yaadikoon s’échappe du camp de Hann,” in Paris-Dakar, 14 Novembre 1956. 48.  Prisons des cercles. Annual report, 1927, ANS 3F/00084. 49. Commandant of Bignona to the administrator superior of Casamance, Bignona, May 25, 1927, ANS 3F/00085. 50.  Commandant of Saint-Louis to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, April 1936, ANS 3F/00101. 51. Ibid. 52. Commandant of Tambacounda to the governor of Senegal, Tambacounda, April 16, 1940, ANS 3F/00122. 53.  Commandant of Bas-Sénégal to the director of the Saint-Louis prison, SaintLouis, 1951–1955, ANS 3F/00072. 54.  Decree criminalizing prison escape in FWA, 1927, ANS 3F/00085. 55.  Report on escapes at the Dakar prison, Dakar, 1890, ANS 21G2. 56.  Administrator of Sédhiou to the administrator superior of Casamance, Sédhiou, May 31, 1927, ANS 3F/00085. 57.  Administrator of Thiès to the governor of Senegal, Thiès, November 24, 1939, ANS 3F/0011.



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58.  Merlhe, commandant of the unit of the gardes de cercles of FWA to the governor of Senegal, Louga, August 31, 1943, ANS 3F/00107. 59.  Commandant of Tambacounda to the governor of Senegal, April 23, 1938, ANS, 3F/00085. 60.  Minister of the Marine to the commandant superior of the troops to the colonies, Paris, August 17, 1891, ANS, 3F/00037. 61.  Myron Echenberg, Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs in French West Africa, 1857–1960 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991), 12. 62.  Merlhe, commandant of the unit of the gardes de cercles FWA to the governor of Senegal, Dakar, December 1, 1938, ANS 3F/00108. 63. Ibid. 64. Ibid. 65.  Merlhe to the governor of Senegal, Dakar, June 8, 1939, ANS 3F/00101. 66. Merlhe to the general secretary of the government, Saint-Louis, March 21, 1939, ANS 3F/00101. 67.  Governor of Senegal to the general secretary of the government, June 22, 1938, ANS 3F/00117. 68.  Governor of Senegal to the administrator superior of Casamance, Saint-Louis, February 16, 1924, ANS 3F/00113. 69.  Governor Parisot to the commandant of Tambacounda, Dakar, May 10, 1939, ANS 3F/00117. 70.  Prisons des cercles, annual report, 1939, ANS 3F/00117. 71. Prisons des cercles. Report from the commandant of Thiès, 1926, ANS 3F/00085. 72.  Governor-general of FWA to the director of Political and Administrative Affairs of Senegal, Dakar, April 28, 1938, ANS, 4P859. 73.  Commandant of Thiès to governor of Senegal, Thiès, August 15, 1924, ANS 3F/00084. 74.  Prisons des cercles, annual report, 1938, ANS 3F/00108. 75.  Commandant of Thiès to the governor of Senegal, Thiès, November 24, 1939, ANS 3F/00108. 76.  Governor of Senegal to the commandant of Bas-Sénégal, Saint-Louis, October 23, 1893, ANS 3F/00037. 77.  Letter from inmates at the Saint-Louis prison to the the director of Interior, Saint-Louis, 1895, ANS 3F/00037. 78. Letter from the the delegate of the government to the governor of Senegal regarding a rebellion at the Dakar prison, Dakar, August 9, 1920, ANS 3F/00034. 79. Ibid. 80.  Alice Conklin, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930 (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), 159. 81.  Ibid., 156. 82.  Ibid., 155. 83.  Ibid., 155. 84.  Letter from Saliou N’Diaye, originaire inmate at the prison at Saint-Louis to the general secretary of the government, Saint-Louis, September 26, 1919, ANS 3F/00079.

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85.  Letter from Saliou N’Diaye to the governor, Saint-Louis, December 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 86.  Letter from Saliou N’Diaye to the governor, Saint-Louis, March 17, 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 87.  Demande d’admission au régime European à la prison de Saint-Louis prison, 1916–1925, ANS 3F/00079. 88. Ibid. 89.  Letter from originaire inmates to the general secretary of the government, Saint-Louis, April 1923, ANS 3F/00071. 90.  Letter from Saliou N’Diaye to the general secretary of the government, SaintLouis, September 26, 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 91. Letter from Télémaque Camara to the governor-general of FWA, SaintLouis, June 12, 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 92.  Letter from Mayor of Saint-Louis to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, March 15, 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 93. Letter from Youssouf Gay, originaire inmate at the Saint-Louis prison to Carpot, Saint-Louis, February 24, 1919, ANS 3F/00079. 94. Conklin, A Mission to Civilize, 145. 95.  Director of the Kaolack prison to the commandant of Sine-Saloum, Kaolack, April 28, 1925, ANS 3F/00079. 96. Ibid. 97.  Letter from A. C., originaire inmate at the Saint-Louis prison to the governorgeneral of FWA, Saint-Louis, October 5, 1930, ANS 3/F00100. 98.  Letter from D. N., originaire inmate at the Saint-Louis prison to the governor of Senegal, Saint-Louis, April 28, 1940, ANS 3F/00077. 99. Ibra Séne, “Contribution à l’histoire des établissements pénitentiaires au Sénégal: la prison de Saint-Louis, de 1920 à 1945” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1998), 76. 100.  Letter from Doudou Fall, originaire inmate at the Saint-Louis to members of the commission on prison sentences, Saint-Louis, September 8, 1960, ANS 3F/00073. 101.  Letter from prisoners serving long sentences at the Saint-Louis prison to the general secretary of government, 1935, ANS 3F/00095. 102. Ibid. 103.  Letter from the originaires inmates at the Saint-Louis prison to members of the prison’s surveillance committee, Saint-Louis, September 1935, ANS 3F/00096. 104.  Letter from prisoners at the Thiès prison to the governor of Senegal, Thiès, August 18, 1938, ANS 3F/00105. 105.  Letter from prisoners at the Géoul camp penal to the governor of Senegal, Géoul, March 3, 1938, ANS 3F/00106. 106. Ibid. 107. Report of chief-police Kortais on the mutiny at the Ndande penal camp, N’Dande, May 1939, ANS 3F/00117. 108.  Letter from inmates at the Ndande penal camp to the governor of Senegal, Ndande, April 2, 1939, ANS 3F/00185. 109.  Lassalle-Séré: Mission on prisons in Senegal, March 1939, ANS 3F/00118.



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110.  Bâ, “L’enfermement carcéral,” 91. 111.  Ibid., 91. 112.  Ibid., 91. 113.  Driver, “The View from Makana,” 116. 114.  Letter from inmates at the Saint-Louis prison to the director of Interior, SaintLouis, May 8, 1895, ANS 3F/00037. 115.  Report on the Dakar prison by Maquard, Head of Senegal’s Justice Department, 1836–1890, ANS 21G2. 116.  Report of the members of the surveillance committee of the prison in Dakar, Dakar, April 1916, ANS 3F/00034. 117.  Commandant of Louga to the governor of Senegal, Louga, May 7, 1937, ANS 3F/00093. 118.  Governor-general Brévié to the governors of colonies and the administrator of Dakar, Dakar, November 1930, ANS 3F/00091. 119. Ibid. 120. Lassalle-Séré: report on prisons in Senegal prisons, March 1939, ANS 3F/00088. 121.  Chief-police of Kaolack to the commandant of the cercle of Sine-Saloum, 1925, ANS 3F/00158. 122.  Bâ, “L’enfermement,” 96. 123.  Ibid., 96. 124.  Commandant of the cercle of Louga to the governor of Senegal, Louga, June 7, 1938, ANS 3F/00093. 125. Ibid. 126.  Governor of Senegal to all commandants de cercles, inspectors of administrative affairs and the commandant of the unit of the gardes de cercles, 1943, ANS 3F/00086. 127.  Anonymous letter written by inmates at the Saint-Louis prison, May 5, 1944, ANS 3F/00144. 128.  The caftan is an African outfit with long sleeves that men wear with pants underneath. On the caftan, see also Ousseynou Faye, “L’habillement et ses accessoires dans les mileux africans de Dakar,” Revue Sénégalaise d’Histoire 1 (1995): 70. 129. Ibid. 130.  Chérif D. Bâ, “La criminalité à Diourbel, 1925–1960” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1993), 51. 131.  Report from Jean Crims-Miramont, director of the Ndande penal camp on the creation of a mutual association by the residents of the camp, Ndande, June 1939, ANS 3F/00113. 132. Ibid. 133. Ibid. 134.  Report by the surveillance committee of the Dakar prison, Dakar, April 1916, ANS 3F/00034. 135.  Prisons des cercles, rapport annual, ANS 3F/00123.

Part III

POST-COLONIAL PRISONS IN SENEGAL

Chapter 6

Architectural Makeover The Legacy of Colonial Prisons in Senegal

The Saint-Louis prison, the oldest prison in Senegal and the first built by the French in the country, turned 150 years old in 2013, the year I visited it to interview inmates and the staff for this book. The expressive power of imprisonment that the French created more than fifteen decades ago by building the prison is so strong that the passage of time has done nothing to diminish its significance in the architectural history of the city of Saint-Louis and its key place in the history of imprisonment in Senegal. The 1863 prison remains standing, bold, telling, and convincing of the legacy of France’s rule and its imprisonment mission in Senegal. Nonetheless, little has occurred in those same decades to reveal to the public eye the mystery behind its walls, and thus it still attracts curiosity. Senegalese can see the legacy of the colonial prisons in the façade of the Saint-Louis prison. The institution is the bedrock of the prison infrastructure in post-colonial Senegal as though it were made into the hub of the colonial prison system. It is the purpose of this chapter to develop an understanding of the legacy of colonial prisons by examining their impact on the prison in post-colonial Senegal and to delve into the policies of prison construction after independence. By focusing on how prisons have functioned since 1960, the chapter also examines the continuities and changes between the colonial and post-colonial periods as far as the architecture of prisons is concerned. When the French withdrew from Senegal in 1960, they left behind a network of thirty-three prisons. After independence, while no new prison buildings were erected,1 only four prisons were established. Not surprisingly, they were housed in old colonial buildings recycled into penitentiaries to accommodate the flow of inmates, an alternative that reflects more continuity than change from the colonial period. Moreover, for prison administrators, the architectural inadequacy of these thirty-seven prisons, reflected in their 259

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old age and decaying infrastructure, adds to their responsibility to make life behind bars bearable. To put it differently, independent Senegal inherited aging and cracking prisons that had been given a jolt of architectural life over the decades. Therefore, to fully examine the legacy of colonial prisons in Senegal, I do not need to put on my detective hat because most of the prisons left by France are still operating. However, given the range of architectural irregularities of colonial prisons, the fundamental questions, include the following: How much of that architecture has changed after independence? To what extent have the authorities kept or managed the legacy of the colonial prisons? Did the political overhaul of prisons initiated after independence align with their architectural overhaul? How did the authorities manage inherited prisons, which were defined by the mismatch between their size, layouts, facilities, and environments, on the one hand, and the exigencies of the new state on the other hand? After 1960, prison policies in Senegal evolved slowly. However, those policies need to be shaped into a coherent political argument. The first policies were drafted from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, a time when the new nation-state was still taking shape. To implement a new prison regime, the government combined new penal legislation and a reorganization of prison workers. The timing of these policies was not coincidental. As will be discussed later, these policies occurred in the wider context of administrative reforms initiated in the 1970s to reshape the socio-political and economic institutions. Prison policies in post-1960 Senegal continued to bear the stamp of colonial policies and legislation until the 1980s, when the Diouf administration undertook a conscious reorganization of the penitentiary administration and a redefinition of its mission to bring coordination within that agency. In the mid-1980s, the government crafted new policies in tandem with international prison standards and treaties and a series of measures to give prisons a facelift, the results of which evoked the colonial period. Nevertheless, it was not a complete makeover because, as mentioned earlier, old colonial buildings that had closed after independence were reopened to increase capacity and ease overcrowding. This move was correlated with efforts to implement solitary confinement that aligned with a new policy of reentry of prisoners into society. This rare moment of interest in the rehabilitation of prisoners signaled a change from the colonial period. However, a growing prison population in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, owing to political instability and an acute economic crisis, disrupted such efforts, transformed the prison landscape, and became the source of a prison problem that was evident by the 2000s onward. More important, a deep overhaul of the prison system was thwarted by understaffing, security concerns, and limited funding, echoing the patchwork approach of the colonial state.



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What is clear is that in a broader context, since 1960 the penitentiary environment has not changed much regarding the architecture and infrastructure of prisons. Equally clear is that the different administrations offered oversimplified solutions to a very complex problem. Therefore, I argue that while the legacy of colonial prisons in Senegal extends the post-colonial state’s power of repression, the state seems not to set an expiration date on prison buildings, let alone to renovate them soundly and securely. Its prisons are still evocative of imprisonment in French Senegal. In other words, the architecture of its prisons did not deviate from history. After independence, the new authorities gave prisons a new mission and function to fit their purposes and agendas but did not give much thought to their architecture; an issue explored further below. It is plausible to argue that prison populations were increasing faster, but the maintenance and makeover of the prison infrastructure did not keep pace. However, the legacy of prisons in post-colonial Senegal needs to be understood first in relation with the popular representations of prisons. REPRESENTATIONS OF PRISONS IN POSTCOLONIAL SENEGAL: THE CULTURAL WEIGHT Popular representations of prisons in independent Senegal reinforced the colonial era’s negative feelings about the institution, except that in the post1960 era, the standards of representations have changed. One thing about which the Senegalese people appear to be consistent and sincere is their feelings about prisons. Expressed in various forms, in symbolic and coded words, in meaningful adages, in prison argot, in namesakes, and even in fashion, they undoubtedly express fear of prisons. They also reveal how Senegalese citizens, whether prisoners, ex-prisoners, or ordinary individuals, come to engage with prisons, drowning those fears in new beliefs that prisons perhaps are not that terrible. These beliefs are symptomatic of the widespread politicization of prisons and the narratives of politicians who landed behind bars and couched their imprisonment as a political test to further their political careers. Present-day representations of prisons in Senegal inform and amplify their functions and purposes. They also offer a certain narrative of and about prisons that fits neatly into the history of imprisonment in Senegal. For instance, symbolic and coded words lend an imagined significance to the stark reality of prisons in Senegal. The reactions and themes that prisons conjure today are immediate and unequivocal, assuming fundamental similarity between the colonial and post-colonial periods. There is no doubt that popular sentiments about prisons in Senegal are shorthand for fear, pain, controversy, destruction, shame, stigma, unfairness, and so on. These feelings are understandable.

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One thing is clear: for Senegalese, prison is not just a word. To illustrate, from Ndougousine to 100m2, to la Maison Centrale, and to simply Rebeuss, these nicknames for the Dakar prison match its status as the largest institution and the cornerstone of Senegal’s prison network, but also as a prison covered in a blanket of controversy, illustrated by the 2016 riot that rocked the institution. They are nicknames for good reasons: they are the epitome of the representations of prisons in present-day Senegal. Each illustrates what the prison signifies and symbolizes for diverse groups. To the ordinary citizens, the Dakar prison is simply called Ndougousine. Senegalese have crafted widespread conceptions of prisons, and there is no doubt that the word Ndougousine was given precedence in those imaginations. As the word Ndougousine is blended with prison, it seemingly connotes a strongly pejorative tone and has become synonymous with darkness, isolation, and privation. Surprisingly, Ndougousine is a village some thirty miles south of the town of Koumpentoum, in the region of Tambacounda, in eastern Senegal. Ndougousine, in oral traditions, is mentioned as being the capital of Niani and as being founded by the son of Mansa Sara, the first ruler of Ndiambour, Kimintang Camara.2 It grew into a fortified place symbolized by the presence of a “Taata,” a fortress used as a refuge during the resistance against French conquest. The Taata is still standing today according to Mamadou Camara, a schoolteacher and a native of Ndougousine. Quoted in an online article about his village, Camara insisted that popular mystic beliefs have associated Ndougousine with decline, regression, and decay. One of those beliefs is that when prominent governmental officials or authorities visited the village, they were quickly dismissed from their jobs or demoted upon leaving the village. Camara blasts the beliefs, claiming that they simply relate to the village’s ancient history.3 However, a curious story about Ndougousine is being told in Senegal and it seems to provide some explanation for the association between Ndougousine and prison. Ndougousine is in a low-lying area susceptible to floods and is rapidly inundated during the raining season, disrupting economic activities. Mamadou Camara stressed that “according to oral traditions, there was a local lumber collector in the zone, who, when the raining season started off, was practically trapped and could not leave the area due to the heavy rains, and people used to say that he was in Ndougousine.4 In other words, the lumber collector was cut off and isolated in the wilderness like a person behind bars. Thus began the vision of Ndougousine as a prison, perpetuated in Senegalese representations of prisons. If true, this story may be the chief explanation for the association of Ndougousine with prison. However, these oral traditions need careful handling. For prisoners, the Dakar prison embodies another meaning: it is 100m2 (translated 100 square meters). Here the focus is on the prison’s physicality and



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its monumentality, the main obstacle that stands between prisoners and their freedom. As discussed in chapter 2, when the colonial administration decided to build a new prison in Dakar in the early 1920s, the only available plot of land, located a few feet from the Atlantic Ocean, measured 101.60 m × 77.20 m (see chapter 2, Figure. 2.1). Why and how the prison came to be referred as 100m2 is unknown. The label maison centrale (central house) resonates more widely with prison workers and administrators because the Dakar prison is classified as a maximum-security prison. Meanwhile, most Senegalese, mainly Dakar dwellers, refer to the Dakar prison simply as Rebeuss, the name of the neighborhood where it is located. The Direction of the Penitentiary Administration has embraced this moniker: the prison’s official name is simply the MAC de Rebeuss. What is surprising here is that everyone, whether ex-prisoner, prisoner, guard, or ordinary citizen, seems to avoid using the word prison in referring to the Dakar prison, leading one to wonder what is in the word “prison.” These attitudes regarding and nicknames for the Dakar prison are indicative of representations of prisons in present-day Senegal, where the institution does not evoke admiration. They also convey ideas of how Senegalese describe, define, live, and measure prisons. What I call prison adages also help to dissect representations of prisons in Senegal. Those prison adages become a new source of ideas about imprisonment in Senegal and a means of penetrating and understanding life within prisons and connecting with the world of the prisoners. The adages reinforce common stereotypes associated with prisons. The concerns were clear from prison workers who shared them with me. There is a constant messaging to prison staff, mainly guards, about the danger of their jobs. There are common adages in prison work, and they have much substance. For instance, the following saying is simple: “la prison ne tombe pas enceinte, elle accouches”: “the prison does not get pregnant, she gives birth.” The words “pregnancy” and “birth” epitomize the mystery of life behind bars. They are veiled expressions of secrecy; they also imply that a prison is a world too complex to penetrate, and only those who are locked in or work inside know what goes on there. Put another way, prisons are wrapped in mystery. Consider, for example, this other adage, which implies that there is only one way to run a prison: “si vous n’occupez pas un détenu, il vous préoccupe”: “if you do not keep an inmate occupied, the inmate will keep you preoccupied.” This adage suggests that the power and knowledge formula that Foucault discussed can shift to the advantage of prisoners who can challenge the order of prison life. The adage also suggests for a fragile or unbalanced prison environment in which guards no doubt are conscious of their duties but also of the risks associated with their jobs. They understand that their jobs, safety, and security depend on keeping “inmates occupied.” Another proverb says:

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“un gardien est un détenu dressé pour garder les prisoners”: “a guard is a prisoner trained to look after other prisoners.” This adage reinforces prison workers’ fixation on the risks of their jobs. It also bolsters the argument that they are acutely aware of the challenges of working in prisons and how much they want to talk about it. By and large, these prison adages provide a prism through which we can learn much about the dynamics of imprisonment and prison life in post-colonial Senegal. Popular feelings about prisons in Senegal are also captured in prison argot, which offers a direct viewpoint from prisoners. To better assess the significance of prison argot in popular representations of prisons in Senegal, this chapter makes good use of rich sociological literature. In The Society of Captives, a study of prison life, Gresham Sykes argues that “whatever may be the roots of prison argot, its importance lies in the fact that it provides a map of the inmate social system.”5 Sykes goes on to contend that “the more critical function of prison argot would appear to be its utility in ordering and classifying experience within the walls in terms which deal specifically with the major problems of prison life.”6 Sykes, for example, found that “words in the prison argot, no less than words in ordinary usage, carry a penumbra of admiration and disapproval, of attitude and belief, which channels and controls the behavior of the individual who uses them to whom they are applied.”7 In a final argument, he contends that “new words are invented or old words are applied in a new and often more restricted way; the skein of reality is being cut in an unfamiliar fashion.”8 Sykes’s arguments about prison argot ring true in Senegal, where a carefully calibrated prison argot supports a narrative about prisons that provides an index of life behind bars. That prison argot can also be considered as part of a conscious strategy by Senegalese inmates to complain about detention conditions. Therefore, the argot words that circulate most effectively and profusely are those that carry a denunciatory tone. For instance, prisoners decried their diet, naming their lunch diagan or kajaang méchant9 translated “nasty” diagan. The terms “diagan” or “kajaang” do not exist in any local languages. However, the French word méchant appears suffused with a language of repression and discipline. By using the word, prisoners singled out their diet as the worst punishment they were subjected to. More importantly, the word méchant became a code word that simply means bad. Similarly, prisoners call their dinner “youndo,” or “younko,”10 seemingly a Wolof word11 that would appear to mean “catch a glimpse.” The word implies that the quality of the food is so disgusting that prisoners do not even bother to eat it; instead, they catch a brief and horrible glimpse to show their distaste and repulsion. Another interesting prison term labels sleeping conditions as “paketasse.” “Paketasse,” which is a Wolofization of the French word “empaqueter” or



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packaging, is not drained of its meaning in the Senegalese prisons. “Paketasse” evokes the idiom “packed like sardines” and conjures a widespread sense of injustice among prisoners. A metaphor for the lack of prison space and overcrowding, the term feeds prisoners’ beliefs that they are being robbed of their humanity and denied basic prisoner rights.12 This evokes Hans Toch’s analysis of prisons as “warehouses for people,”13 to lend support to prisoners’ description of their sleeping conditions as “paketasse.” As it circulates, prison argot in Senegal acquires strong and powerful meanings; “diagan méchant,” “youndo,” and “paketasse” mean imprisonment at its worst and aggravate the “pains of imprisonment,” to coin Gresham Sykes.14 Sykes argues that “the pains of imprisonment cannot be viewed as being limited to the loss of physical liberty. The significant hurts lie in the frustrations and deprivations which attend the withdrawal of freedom such as the lack of heterosexual relationships, isolation from the free community, the withholdings of services and goods and so on.”15 By forming the core of a discourse on imprisonment different from the one crafted by the authorities, prison argot puts the Senegalese prisons on trial and shifts the focus onto the main victims here, namely the prisoners themselves. Meanwhile, by crafting an image of prisons through their diet and sleeping conditions, prisoners gain the attention of the government. In 2000, the daily expense per inmate was raised from one-half dollar to one dollar.16 Today, it is estimated at 1,000 CFA francs or more than a dollar.17 It is accurate to say post-1960 Senegalese have inherited colonial representations of prisons and widely elaborated on them. Today, for instance, representations of prisons offer measured words wrapped in cautionary tales. The words scream negative, but also amazing narratives about prisons. Nonetheless, imprisonment in Senegal is still a highly stigmatized experience, as further discussed in the appendix. IMPRISONMENT IN POST-COLONIAL SENEGAL: THE REALITY OF NUMBERS As said previously, French Senegal ran thirty-three prisons. Independent Senegal operates thirty-seven. This increase in the number of prisons suggests an increase in crime rates after 1960. In January 1930, the prison population, including Europeans and natives, totaled 851 inmates18; it jumped to 1,766 in 194319 and 2,331 in 1952.20 After independence, prison populations, including both pre-trial and condemned offenders, skyrocketed, reaching 5,267 in 196721 and 6,326 in 1968,22 for a prison capacity of 5,060 during that time. From the 1970s onward, the prison population continued to climb, reaching alarming numbers while prisons were above capacity. To better grasp the

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evolution of criminality and prison populations as well as changing prison policies, I focus on two major periods: the first two decades after independence and the period of the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s and the mid-1990s. Crime and Punishment in Senegal, 1960–1980 Crime and punishment in post-independence Senegal can be understood not only in relation to the social, political, and economic changes that cropped up after the country transitioned to self-rule in 1960 but also in relation to the legacy of colonialism. After independence, criminality increased and took on new forms. In 1967, the penitentiary administration published the first crime statistics in Senegal (see Table 6.1 below). After the Service of Prisons became the Direction of the Penitentiary Administration in 1972, the entity released annual reports on crime rates and prison populations. Table 6.1 charts prison populations in Senegal from 1967 to 1979, including pretrial and convicted prisoners. For the years in question, except in 1978,23 the number of people in custody nearly doubled, rising from 5,267 in 1967 to 10,008 in 1979. Similarly, the number of convicts gradually increased in the late 1960s, although there was a slight decline in 1969. By the early 1970s, more Senegalese were in custody, as their numbers jumped from 6,265 in 1972 to 6,712 by 1973. By the late 1970s, the number of condemned offenders amounted to 6,456 and 6,417 for 1978 and 1979, respectively, a slight decline from 1977 when 7,435 people served prison terms. The number of condemned offenders was also on the rise. By 1968, figures from all Table 6.1.  Evolution of criminality in Senegal, 1967–1979 Years

People Awaiting Trial

Convicted

1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

5,267 6,326 6,320 6,093 6,103 6,265 6,712 7,259 8,511 8,975 9,755 — 10,008

3,655 4,431 4,130 3,027 3,722 2,994 3,674 5,199 3,145 6,597 7,439 6,456 6,417

Source: DAP and Meissa Niang



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prisons stood at 4,431, compared to 3,655 prisoners in 1967. From 1969 to 1973, prison populations fluctuated between 3,000 and 4,000 inmates while “the crime rate soared from 0.79 per 1,000 inhabitants in 1972 to 1.42 in 1978 before falling to 1.22 per 1, 000 in 1979.”24 Growing crime rates after 1960 reflected the changing economic, political, and social policies in Senegal after independence. These increases put stress on already rundown prison buildings. More importantly, the statistics are telling about the new roles and functions assigned to prisons after independence, roles and functions that were tested in the early 1960s, mainly the period 1960–1963 identified by Francois Zuccarelli as the first difficulties of independence.25 No Senegalese institution caught up more quickly with the reality of independence than prisons. In an environment of political instability and polarized social movements in the early 1960s, the inherited colonial prisons were put to the task of quelling these threats that seemed to spoil the taste of freedom and independence that Senegalese were still enjoying. After 1960, state-building and power consolidation became top priorities for leaders of Senegalese independence. To legitimize the country’s access to national sovereignty and sustain their authority, they created a bicameral executive branch (1960–1962) with Léopold Sédar Senghor as president of the republic and Mamadou Dia as prime minister. However, disagreement between Senghor and Dia about the kinds of political orientation and economy that best suited Senegal foiled this power-sharing scheme. This rapidly intensified the friction between the two leaders, culminating in the first political crisis in the new state. In December 1962, Mamadou Dia was arrested and accused of attempting to overthrow President Senghor. For Senghor, the coup and its aftermath, known as the 1962 crisis, was a bitter pill to swallow. Responses to the crisis were rapid and swift. According to Moustapha Diouf, “the presence of French armed units in Dakar was key in Senghor’s success in mastering the crisis; they dissuaded any disobedience from the Senegalese military hierarchy. . . . Such military presence also put pressure on representatives in the Senegalese parliament, which was dominated by Dia partisans and ministers.”26 Eventually, Dia was tried and sentenced to prison in 1963, providing a lens into the intersection of politics and imprisonment in the early years of independence. Confined in the newly created prison for political prisoners in Kédougou in the eastern part of Senegal, Dia served twelve years behind bars alongside Valdiodio Ndiaye, Ibrahima Sarr, and Alioune Tall, all charged with complicity in the coup. The establishment of the Kédougou prison in 1963 was a sharp break from the colonial period, which was marked by the absence of prisons designated for political prisoners. Its creation must, therefore, be understood in the context of the 1962 crisis. None of the thirty-three prisons that Senegal had inherited two years earlier were deemed secure enough to accommodate Dia

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and his alleged accomplices. Political repression was embedded in the name given to the Kédougou prison. It was symbolically referred to as a camp, but mainly as enceinte fortifiée. These words, which match its maximum-security walls, added some certainty about its infrastructure. The whole point of the Kédougou prison was to keep dangerous politicians at the level of Dia and acolytes, locked up in a fortress-like prison far from Dakar, in the scorching eastern part of Senegal, so they could not escape. Its creation also shows that the post-colonial state was flexing its penal muscles in cracking down on political disturbances. Therefore, what is clear is that the incarceration of political leaders in the 1960s proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that prisons were politically important. What is equally clear is that this early connection between politics and prisons continued well into the twenty-first century, shaping what I call the political weaponization of prisons in Senegal. However, in November 2009, Decree 2009-1273 sanctioned the closing of the Kédougou prison, bringing the number of prisons in Senegal down to thirtyseven institutions. The 1962 crisis ended the first Senegalese republic, giving way to the second republic that began in 1963. However, the crisis sounded an alarm that major changes in the country’s direction were urgently needed. Those changes became a reality in the establishment of a new administration and the adoption of a new constitution in March 1963 that made reference to international norms such as 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 1963 constitution also created a winner-take-all one-party political system.27 Not surprisingly, the bicameral system ended, and a new presidential regime was put in place.28 In the process, the government also embarked upon the creation of a new legal apparatus. There is no doubt that the building of the nation-state after independence required judicial system development, which became a top priority for the authorities, mainly after the 1962 crisis. They drafted and enacted a code of civil procedure, a code of penal procedure, and a penal code to meet the needs of the newly independent nation. These codes were inspired by colonial legal legislation or French legal tradition.29 Decree 65-61 of July 21, 1965, created the Code of Penal Procedure while Decree 65-60 of July 21, 1965, produced the Penal Code. It did not take long for the newly independent state to test its new legal system and assess its effectiveness. Despite the imprisonment of Dia and some of his followers, the cloud of political and social instability thickened after the attempted murder of Senghor by Moustapha Lô in 1963. This incident, which symbolized a rupture between Senegalese society and the Senghor regime, unleashed the state’s repressive power, which became obvious in the years that followed. In 1967, three years after the attempted murder, the state executed Moustapha Lô as



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well as Abdou Ndaffa Faye, who was also convicted of murder in the killing Demba Diop, the mayor of the coastal town of Mbour. The use of the death penalty, also a legacy of colonialism, was an embodiment of the young nation’s law-and-order approach. These executions, which were stern warnings against future political dissension and social upheaval, imply that the survival of the Senghor administration depended on repression. They also were signs of things to come. To the surprise of no one, the state’s repressive policies escalated in 1968 and 1969 when political and social turmoil,30 which coalesced in the May 1968 student riot,31 roiled the country. The student uprising, which resulted in one death and the wounding of many students, resonated around the country. Workers affiliated with trade unions and civilian public servants went on strike in support of students after decrying the brutalities that the government levied against the students. However, as they spiraled rapidly, the strikes became anchored around “demands for better wages, lower-priced consumer goods, and changes in government policies.”32 Moustapha Diouf reminds us again that “with French assistance, the state survived this crisis by relying on its military coercive apparatus to repress the movement.”33 In May 1968, President Senghor declared a state of emergency. The government tightened Senghor’s grip on power by shutting down public schools and the country’s only university. Clamping down on trade unions, it also oversaw a massive purge of leaders of trade unions. As a result, the Union Nationale des Travailleurs Sénégal (U.N.T.S) was suspended and replaced by the Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Sénégal (C.N.T.S).34 The Kédougou prison became home to leaders of the students and workers’ riots and hundreds who joined the strikes, suggesting that in the early years of independence, imprisonment was not just a punishment, it also was a weapon. The Senegalese post-colonial state’s power to police, prosecute, and imprison was wielded greatly in the first decade of independence. As “the promises of independence had failed to materialize”35 in the 1960s, repression was prioritized to bolster the government’s legitimacy and prisons became tools in that effort. Catherine Boone concurs. She contends that “under the leadership of Senghor, the regime was consolidated through a process of selective repression and the development of patronage networks.”36 She adds that “in the immediate post-colonial period, repression narrowed the scope of political participation and debate, narrowing the political arena.”37 More importantly, economic hardship in the 1960s, somewhat the result of external forces, also sparked high crime rates. The 1967–1969 drought that affected most of the Sahel region hit Senegal hard, paralyzing its economy. Peanut production, the country’s major source of income, dropped drastically, exacerbated by the “withdrawal of French price supports for Senegalese groundnuts in 1967.”38 The minimum monthly

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income of peasants who depended on groundnut production rather than government assistance to survive, remained at 870 CFA francs, whereas prices of consumer goods increased.39 The Senghor regime’s failed agricultural policies coalesced in what scholars dubbed the malaise paysan, which forced peasants to shift from commercial to subsistence agriculture.40 Combined with drought, the malaise paysan caused a mass exodus from the countryside where peasants, overwhelmed by aggressive tax collectors and open administrative coercion, reluctantly refused to repay funds borrowed from the government.41 For instance, a World Bank publication cited by Jonathan Baker in his study, Stability and Stagnation: The State In Senegal, indicated that in 1974, “in the last decade, per capita GNP of the Senegalese population declined by some 3 per cent in the countryside but by over 21 per cent in the towns.”42 The publication blamed the decline on “high migrations to towns, even though urban industries, particularly construction and services, have grown very slowly.” As the country grappled with economic hardship, thousands of people made the logical decision to move to big cities such as Dakar. The same trend was evident in other cities to which migrants, most of them peasants, flocked for jobs and better lives, causing overcrowding, inflation, and food shortage. As a chain effect, the industrial sector, which also depended on groundnut production, was hit hard, resulting in shrinking job opportunities and incomes and increased criminality. As discussed above, in 1968, the prison population rose to 4,431 from 3,655 in 1967. The same year, 6,326 people were arrested, compared to 5,267 in 1967. The Sahel drought worsened in 1972 and 1973 and it was a sign of more troubles to come. As the drought lingered, the country struggled with an oil crisis that caused the economy to further deteriorate, with soaring unemployment in urban areas. Surprisingly, around the same time, the number of prison sentences decreased. Indeed, while the number of people sentenced to prison dwindled from 4,431 in 1969 to 2,994 in 1972, the number of those arrested remained more than 6,000 during the same period (see Table 6.1 above). The decline in prison for persons sentenced could be read as the result of leniency of courts in a context of widespread economic and social decline. Paradoxically, as the number of prison sentences fell in 1972, the Senghor regime devised a new law-and-order policy that created new types of offenders. Most offenders of the 1960s who landed behind bars—politicians, students, workers, and civilian servants—were replaced by new categories of offenders by the 1970s, signifying a redefinition of crime. The social and political upheaval of the 1960s clearly shows that the centralization of power with a one-party rule under the Senghor regime, or what Linda Beck called the “presidential monarchy,”43 was fraught with failures. In the early 1970s, as the wounds of these political difficulties slowly faded, the Senghor regime feared losing au-



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thority, so it initiated new politics of decentralization. By and large, this move was a political calculation, or as Robert Fatton Jr. argues, “the necessity of creating a new hegemony capable of legitimizing of the Senghorian state.”44 According to Catherine Boone, “once the streets were cleared . . . powers that had been centralized in the president’s office were shifted to various branches of the government.”45 The most significant aspects of the decentralization were the creation of a post of prime minister (1970),46 the implementation of a multiparty system, directly elected rural councils (1972),47 and administrative reform (1972). Mamadou Diouf and Momar Coumba Diop argue that the 1972 reform “could be understood in the context of strategies of control of populations after the political unrest of the 1960s.”48 As the reform was evolving, the Sahel drought and oil crisis deepened rapidly, making more people vulnerable. One facet of the 1972 reform was the implementation of a new policy of exclusion, which for years empowered government officials and officers to rid big cities of specific groups. This exclusion policy became a testing ground for the effectiveness of the 1972 reform’s emphasis on urban development. In this context, the Senghor administration did have the right vocabulary to specifically characterize those groups: déchets humains, encombrements humains,49 fléaux sociaux,50 or marginaux.51 Starting in 1972, the Senghor regime cultivated a language of exclusion that put vagrants, beggars, prostitutes, talibés (Koranic school students), street vendors, mentally ill persons, homeless people, and individuals with leprosy all under the umbrella of floating populations. Senegalese historians Ibrahima Thioub and Ousseynou Faye convincingly stressed that this policy of exclusion was nowhere more apparent than in Dakar, which from 1960 to 1979, became its laboratory and the center of other new policies of urban control.52 Accused of roaming the streets and other public places, these groups were expelled from major cities, a policy that was a continuation rather than a change from the colonial period. This language of exclusion questioned citizenship building in the early years of the Senegalese post-colonial state. More importantly, the government’s use of the terms déchets humains, encombrements humains, fléaux sociaux, and marginaux was a full-throated demonization and alienation of the targeted groups, materializing in the creation of new crimes such as begging and vagrancy. It also triggered drastic measures including police surveillance in urban areas, raids, arrests, expulsion, and of course, imprisonment for periods from one to six months. Thioub and Faye called these measures “moral cleaning.”53 The characterization of these groups makes perfect sense in Senghor’s 1970s politics of liberalization, which shifted support to the traditional aristocracy dubbed the marabouts de l’arachide and a bureaucratic bourgeoisie54 rather than lifting the burden of ordinary Senegalese. As his régime continued to consolidate in the

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1970s, so did the legal system, which expanded repression and punishment to a new level in a context of increased urban development. René Collignon argues that the politics of control of the déchets humains and encombrements humains echoed colonial practices during the urbanization of colonial cities such as Dakar.55 However, he contends, President Senghor first used the term encombrements humains on July 19, 1972, at a national convention on urbanism held by Senghor’s party, l’Union Progressite Sénégalaise (U.P.S).56 He explains how the encombrements humains policy received broad approval from Senghor ministers. Between 1972 and 1977, as several laws and ministerial councils strengthened the policy criminalizing loitering, hawking, and similar activities, state surveillance, repression, and punishment were exercised against vagrants, beggars, petty thieves, street vendors, mentally ill persons, and people with leprosy. For example, “the law 75-105 of 20 December 1975 toughened enforcement of crimes prohibiting loitering and hawking in public places, changing these activities from contraventions punishable only by just a fine and the confiscation of goods to délits carrying a punishment of prison terms ranging from 2 months to 2 years and fines up to 10,000 francs CFA.”57 Unsurprisingly, “in 1976, 1,898 street vendors were arrested, 855 of them were charged including 772 who received sentences ranging from 8 days to three months in prison with probation, and 5,000 to 50,000 CFA fines.”58 By 1977, the marketing of the téranga sénégalaise (Senegalese hospitality), a commodity that has earned Senegal the nickname pays de la téranga (hospitality country), was jeopardized by ongoing loitering, hawking, beggary, and vagrancy, giving headaches to tourism authorities. That year, the prime minister issued new directives to crush these behaviors. From January to November 1977, Collignon says “1,755 vendors were referred to court and convicted. Of those, 450 received prison sentences ranging from 4 days to a month, 94 paid fines between 5,000 and 20,000 francs CFA, 144 and 288 were given respectively suspended sentences and suspended fines. A total of 711 were simply released and cleared of any criminal activities.”59 While the aggressive posture toward vagrants, beggars, street vendors, mentally ill persons, homeless people, and individuals with leprosy translated in the numbers of arrests, prisons became somewhat of a safety valve to contain these groups. Most people arrested during the encombrements humains operations received short sentences. Expressing the changing nature of repression and punishment in postcolonial Senegal, this selective exclusion policy could be read as an indicator of political change in the 1970s. Tellingly, it reflected a clear political agenda. However, it also could be understood as the Senghor regime’s divorce from the reality that those individuals arrested and sentenced to prison considered loitering, hawking, vagrancy, and begging to be survival



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strategies in a context of widespread economic hardship. The policies of the encombrements humains, déchets humains, and fléaux sociaux were a window into how the Senghor regime acted politically and about whom his administration cared. However, the policies were also passed at a time of economic change: the promotion of tourism, which spotlighted a promising source of revenue to offset depleting resources in a context of lingering economic crisis.60 Put another way, the development of tourism was also a trigger of crime and punishment. There is no doubt that repression was prioritized to crush threats to the economy and protect urban planning and development projects in the 1970s. The Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs)61 initiated by the Diouf administration from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s also sparked crime and punishment. Abdou Diouf became Senegal’s second president after Senghor resigned in December 1980. Unmasking the nature of the Senegalese state under Diouf, the SAPs, which sparked social upheaval in a context of widespread political discontent, claimed many victims who ran afoul of the law and landed in prison. Crime and Punishment in Senegal: From the SAPs Era to the Early Twenty-First Century Crime and punishment also increased in tandem with the political and social changes that swept Senegal in the 1980s, the 1990s, and beyond. Distress, distrust, delinquency, and debt characterized the early years of the Diouf regime. This argument was advanced by Senegalese historian Mohamed MBodji. Beginning in the 1980s, MBodji argues, Senegal was in chaos in all domains.62 The country was mired in debt. The fiscal crisis deepened rapidly, exacerbated by a persistent drought, a decline in trade, and a corrupt bureaucracy that squandered the state’s resources, plunging the country into a large deficit. Under aggressive pressure from international financial organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Diouf regime had no choice but to make sweeping neoliberal economic changes to survive. To cut the deficit, it reduced public expenditures and investments and disengaged from the most unorganized economic sector, namely agriculture, hoping to inject new blood into a declining economy. The regime elaborated a new agricultural policy, which gave more responsibility to peasants while exposing them to a general and competitive world market. As the government suspended subsidies, peasants were left to buy their supplies, seeds, and fertilizer and to sell their crops at prices fixed, unfortunately, by the state.63 Strikingly, the SAPs were a decisive factor in the growth of crime and imprisonment.

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State disengagement, factory closings, and high unemployment rates were emblematic of the SAPs results that left low-income and middle-class families in dire conditions. Income disparities and poverty, already obvious, worsened.64 Unemployment in the industrial sector soared: “Industrial activity in Senegal declined by 20 percent between the second trimester of 1987 and the second trimester of 1988. Meanwhile, of the 10,000 jobs lost in Senegal’s private sector between 1986 and 1990, some 5,000 were in private manufacturing industry.”65 Job losses in the private sector most affected women whose presence in the industrial sector was 21 percent, 15 percent in public services and production, and 19.2 percent in trade.66 Moral crisis, a lack of social support within families, and a growing number of divorces67 were other outcomes of the SAP era. The austerity initiated by the government compelled vulnerable groups such as widows and single and divorced mothers to seek other ways to make money, engaging in prostitution, drug trafficking, and illegal alcohol sales.68 A study of women and criminality in Senegal during the SAP era reveals that women used money earned through these activities to pay for basic family needs, which, as the SAP lingered, became harder to satisfy.69 Many women became heads of families.70 By 1990, it was clear the Diouf administration was in full-blown SAP mode. That same year, it liquidated the Ministry of Commerce. In 1994, it devaluated the CFA franc, forcing Senegalese to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for basic goods. In late 1995, it announced a plan to privatize approximately twenty state-owned companies and industries (including water, telephone, and electricity).71 During the SAP era, political violence and social discontent also triggered high crime rates and punishment. As the SAPs persisted, from 1980 to 1983 Senegal was rocked by political violence heightened by a wave of riots, expressing students’ dissatisfaction with an educational system that was nothing but the shadow of the inherited colonial schooling system. This violence worsened with the outbreak of the Diola rebellion in 1981 in Casamance, in southern Senegal. By shaking the stability of Senegal, the political upheaval of the early 1980s translated into aggressive repression that intensified during the 198372 and 1988 presidential and legislative elections73: 11,725 arrests in 1983 for the entire territory,74 and 16,967 in 1988.75 For instance, the 1988 elections did much to enhance the Diouf regime’s reign of repression. They clearly revealed that like Senghor, Diouf did not hesitate to respond to political and social threats with harsh punishment, thus validating imprisonment in a context of widespread anti-government strikes and urban unrest in the aftermath of the elections. From 1988 to the early 1990s, another round of political violence rocked the country, whose economy was worsening as the result of failed SAPs. The Diouf regime’s responses to the crisis carried echoes of the Senghor regime’s reactions to the 1967–1968 political upheaval



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repression with all it signified: a state of emergency, a three-month curfew, and the arrest and imprisonment of members and leaders of opposing parties including Abdoulaye Wade of the Partie Démocratique Sénégalais (P.D.S), the main opposition party, which by 1988 was deeply radicalized and supported by a large militant urban youth. From 1988 to 1990, political repression such as that in 1968 and 1969 occurred again, confirming the marriage between politics and punishment in Senegal, that is, that repression was aligned with politics. As this political violence swirled, the growth of the Diola rebellion in the early 1990s added insult to injury. New arrests and incarcerations skyrocketed as part of an attempt to quell aspirations for independence in Casamance. In his book on ethnic groups and nation in Senegal, Makhtar Diouf argued that the government used harsh repression against the Diola separatists, causing mass arrests and deaths, particularly in the early 1990s when the rebellion intensified.76 According to him, a document published in 1990 by Amnesty International, La torture au Sénégal- La Casamance revealed that from 1986 to 1989, hundreds of individuals from Casamance were arrested.77 As the country contended with the Diola uprising, a dispute with a neighboring country plunged the country into more turmoil. The 1989 SenegalMauritanian conflict78 that started as a dispute over land spiraled rapidly when nationals on both sides of the Senegal River were sent back to their countries and diplomatic ties were severed. As news of the conflict spread from the banks of the river to the capital cities of Dakar and Nouakchott, killings and property looting increased rapidly, leading to mass arrests. According to John Magistro, “it is estimated that between 15,000 to 30,000 Mauritanian shops in Senegal were pillaged and destroyed,”79 and by the time the conflict died out, “the number of Senegalese killed in Nouakchott and the countryside is somewhere between 200 and 1,000.”80 To illustrate, in 1988, the prison population numbered 3,532, but it reached 4.589 in 1989 and 4,967 in 1990. But what do these crime rates suggest? I will argue that changes in the ratios of crimes prosecuted by courts in Senegal in the 1980s and 1990s reflect changes in post-colonial prosecutorial strategies and new criminal justice policies, which in turn reflect changes in the character and nature of the state and society. Table 6.2 indicates the prison populations and incarceration rates in Senegal from 1981 to 1997. The table shows that imprisonment rose and fell and peak imprisonment periods coincided with some of the incidents discussed above.81 Prison sentences were also high in the early years of the SAPs (1984–1987), the early 1990s (1990–1992), and in the late 1990s. However, Serge Nédélec argued that Senegal’s imprisonment rates are lower than those of other countries. With 53 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants in 1995, Senegal sentenced relatively fewer

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Table 6.2.  Evolution of prison populations in Senegal, 1981–1997 Years

Number of Inmates

Incarceration Rate per 100,000 Residents

1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

4,753 4,663 3,844 4,937 4,824 4,712 4,704 3,532 4.589 4,967 4,821 4.676 4,310 4,174 4,430 4,363 4.615

— — — — — 72 70 51 64 68 64 60 55 52 53 51 60

Source: DAP

people to prison than did France around the same time (95 per 100,000 inhabitants). According to Nédélec, this decline in 1995 was a direct result of shifts in prison populations in the late 1980s with the number of prisoners and those in custody fluctuating around 4,000–4,500 inmates, much above prison capacities (3,283 in 1995), while Senegal’s population jumped from 4.5 million in 1979 to 8 million in 1995.82 Thus, Nédélec concludes that Senegal engaged in less imprisonment during the 1990s than the 1980s.83 The answer may be an effect of less policing and repression. However, official statistics released by the DAP substantiated growing criminality and high imprisonment rates in the early twenty-first century. By 2000, Senegalese prisons were overcrowded. Crime rates did not dwindle in the late 1990s and early 2000s; instead, they increased. The decline in prison populations observed in the mid-1990s changed by the early twenty-first century. In 1998, 3,134 people went to prison; in 1999, 16,424 people were arrested, of whom 4,428 were convicted for several offenses.84 In 2000, however, 16,993 people were in custody, representing 0.188 percent of Senegal’s total population, estimated at 9 million. While prisons capacity was capped at 3,283 places in 2000, the total prison population was approximately 4,894 with an incarceration rate of 51 per 100,000 residents.85 The DAP as-



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sociated the high crime rates in 2000 with a moral crisis and a lingering economic crisis. However, other research debunks the DAP’s argument, lending much credence to the 2000 presidential and legislative elections as a factor. The elections ushered in a new era in Senegal with the victory of Abdoulaye Wade over Abdou Diouf, his opponent of twenty-two years, making Senegal a beacon of democracy in Africa.86 There is no doubt that the 2000 presidential and legislative elections were a trigger for arrests and imprisonment, bringing the Senegalese prison into a new political era, that of the Wade regime. When I conducted field research in Senegal in 2003, Wade was three years into his presidency. It was evident that his administration was stretching the limits of political power and repression, showing that prisons were not simply for petty thieves, murderers, robbers, and delinquents. The arrest of Prime Minister Idrissa Seck and three ministers on corruption and embezzlement charges, the imprisonment of many journalists for inciting revolt, were emblematic of the Wade administration. In addition, the incarceration of six prison guards on abuse charges after an inmate had his hands amputated, and the imprisonment of Senegal’s most famous transsexual, who challenged prison rules by requesting to be held in the Rufisque women prison, were clear indications that his administration, like previous administrations, intended to use prisons to hold everyone accountable for his or her actions. Under the Wade administration, the number of inmates grew “from 4,894 inmates with an incarceration rate of 51 per 100,000 residents in 2000 to 6,833 in 2004, 7,300 in 2010.”87 In 2012, when Wade left power, Senegal had “8,428 inmates in prison with an incarceration rate of 60 per 100,000.”88 In 2014, the prison population totaled “8,630 prisoners with an incarceration rate of 58 per 100,000,”89 a clear sign that crime rates were increasing exponentially. The question, however, is how much did the penal system and prison policies change after independence? PATTERNS OF CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRISONS In Senegal, as in many other African countries, the 1960s were a time of rapid development and changing governing styles. In 1960, as most African colonies became independent, they closed the door on a dark and rough colonial period and opened the way to a brighter form of politics and government. But that goal proved nearly impossible to reach; instead, colonial-influenced policies held sway, including ones affecting the administration of prisons in

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Senegal. Changes in prison legislation must be examined through the various compilations of decrees. Although prisons in post-colonial Senegal are politically important, they also have been politically neglected. Prison Reform in the 1960s Managing the inherited colonial prisons required a new set of skills, policies, attitudes, and financial resources. When independence came to Senegal in 1960, it did not arrive in a vacuum. The reappropriation of the colonial prisons, for instance, was not as quick as that of other institutions.90 There was a striking continuity in prison policies with the colonial period. Five years after France returned power to Senegal in 1960, prisons were still managed with a colonial legislation that obviously was at odds with the realities and changes brought by independence. By the mid-1960s, efforts to overhaul the prison system were considered, yet they were slow to materialize. One major effort was an extensive Sénégalisation of prison staff. After independence, Senegal registered a sharp decline in the number of European prison officers in service. Most of those officers served as members of prisons’ surveillance committees, wardens, or doctors. The decline in European officers accelerated after the adoption of the 1956 Loi-Cadre, which transferred the administration of prisons to the minister of Interior. Before that, the service of prison affairs was under the Bureau of Political and Administrative Affairs controlled by the governor of Senegal. Efforts to overhaul the prison system occurred as early as May 26, 1962, when Valdiodio Ndiaye, then Senegal’s interior minister, appointed Ousmane Diéye as the interim régisseur or warden of the Saint-Louis prison. This appointment was the first step in the Sénégalisation of prison personnel. On December 28, 1962, Decree 62-209 transferred the management of prisons to a new service whose function was extended to include the supervision of at-risk youth: the Penitentiary Administration and Supervised Education. Although these early efforts indicate thought was being given to the prison system, it was evident that the post-colonial state was still lacking strategy in managing its inherited prisons. In fact, the decision to transfer prison affairs to the Justice Ministry provoked resistance from prison wardens, who thought they should not be placed under that agency. Hence, they did not feel obligated to seek approval from their supervisor, Justice Minister André Guillabert, for the fiscal management of prisons. However, in a letter dated April 23, 1963, Guillabert warned them that as governmental employees they were liable to disciplinary sanctions and would be tried by the newly created Cour de Discipline Budgétaire (Court of Budgetary Discipline) if found guilty of any wrongdoing. Guillabert was caught off guard when the



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governors of the newly created seven regions of Senegal to whom prison wardens reported added their voices to the resistance. The governors also believed that prisons would be better managed if placed under the authority of the Interior Ministry. To manifest their resistance, they directly channeled prison reports to that agency, a move that infuriated Guillabert, who, on July 31, 1963, directed all governors to submit prison reports to him.91 Perhaps even more important, Guillabert was testing his authority to tame governors as well as prison wardens who saw their association with the Justice Ministry as an oddity. But these latter were arguably right and their resistance successful because on December 28, 1963, the government green-lighted Decree 63209, handing the service of prisons back to the Interior Ministry under a new moniker: the Penitentiary Administration. Confusion reigned supreme about the reform of prisons when the government reassigned prison affairs back to the Justice Ministry from 1963 to 1966 before it finally decided that the Interior Ministry should be home to prison affairs. This transfer of authority plagued the management of prisons for years. By 1966, however, the prison reform machinery was in place. New legislation molded what is known today as the Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiaire. For instance, one piece of legislation, Decree 66-1081 of December 31, 1966, rationalized the regulation of prison facilities and the organizational structure of the penitentiary administration, creating surveillance commissions on prisons to replace the surveillance committees on prisons of the colonial period. But there is literally no difference in the two bodies’ duties: regular visits to check on prison rules and detention conditions including hygiene, health, diet, and clothing. In addition to the 1966 decree, the prison regime in Senegal is also governed by the provisions of the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. For instance, “Articles 5 and 7 of the Code of Criminal Procedure list the different detention and correctional facilities while its Articles 13 and 65 establish the procedures for the execution of pre-detention trial orders and custodial sentences.”92 Not until 1967 did the first true legislation defining the regimen of prisons and the duties of their personnel appear in print: Decree 86-83 issued on June 28, 1967. Unsurprisingly, this decree was a watered-down version of the Law of October 22, 1947, the last colonial legislation that reorganized prisons and unified prison laws in French Senegal. The colonial state approved the 1947 decree in compliance with the Decree of January 20, 1946, that phased out the Indigénat in French West Africa including Senegal, ending what were dubbed peines de l’Indigénat. As discussed in chapter one, these sentences resulted in overcrowding in prisons from 1887, the date of the enactment of that policy system until, 1946 when it was outlawed. Additional legislation, including Decree 68-583 of May 28, 1968, modified and completed the 1966

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decree by directing the categorization of prisons in Senegal. But the 1970s and 1980s brought about more coordination and rationalization of prisons, with particular attention given to their architectural makeover. Prison Reform and Architectural Makeover in the 1970s–1990s An in-depth examination of the evolution of prisons in post-1960s Senegal reveals a more complex reality of prisons that highlights the state’s slowmoving intervention in that sector.93 Written by Senegalese prison historians Ibrahima Thioub, Ibra Séne, and Babacar Bâ, the study exposes a prison crisis in the 1990s. The writers were correct in their assessment that the crisis was associated with a lack of genuine political motivation in restructuring prisons several decades after independence. Yet, they overlook the evolution of penal legislation and the politics of prison makeover after 1960. The 1990s prison crisis they diagnosed did not happen overnight; instead it was the result of years-long obvious neglect of prisons. Thus, this section looks at these longterm legislative and political developments to shed more light on the crisis in the 1990s. Almost two decades after that study, Senegalese prisons remain plagued by difficulties, including escapes, a shortage of guards, and a crumbling infrastructure. The persistence of these inadequacies, as apparent now as they were during the colonial period, gives a certain sense of historical clarity: prisons in post-colonial Senegal are an inherited problem. After spinning its wheels on prisons for a decade after independence, the Senegalese government attempted to effectively reorganize prisons to meet the requirements of its new political liberalization. The background of these efforts was the politics of decentralization initiated by the Senghor regime in the 1970s. Decentralization was aimed at shaking up and giving more autonomy to governmental agencies, including the prison administration. Thus, by 1971, the decentralization of the prison system itself was underway. On July 30, 1971, Decree 71-877 changed the service of prisons into the Direction of the Penitentiary Administration. Less than one year later, Decree 7223, issued on April 19, 1972, spelled out the duties of the new agency. The 1972 law pivoted the penitentiary administration in a dynamic direction: a professionalization of prison staff that materialized in the creation of a separate professional corps of prison guards and officers.94 These administrative orders were a rare approach to prisons; the government sought to rebrand the entire penal system. Yet, the momentum behind the decentralization of the prison administration was the creation of a prison exclusively reserved for women, the Rufisque women’s prison, a change that marked another sharp break with the colonial period.



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The Rufisque prison was the first and only institution for female inmates until the 1980s, when an annex of the Liberté VI penal camp was designated for pre-trial female offenders. The Rufisque women’s prison seems to showcase efforts to rectify the bias against female prisoners during the colonial period. Therefore, its creation may signal efforts to engendering imprisonment in post-colonial Senegal. Nevertheless, during its early years of operation (1972–1974), the Rufisque women’s prison was under the umbrella of the Dakar prison and housed only female offenders awaiting trial. In 1974, it welcomed its first condemned offenders, a move that assumes a certain autonomy from the Dakar prison. However, the policy of transferring female inmates to Rufisque from other prisons was not enforced. The initiative came from the then-director of the penitentiary administration, who in 1981 issued directives, commanding prison wardens to move to Rufisque all female prisoners. His decision came after he received reports that quarters reserved for female prisoners continued to be operated in almost all prisons. He wrote: “prison facilities in the country do not provide for adequate housings for women. Their transfer to Rufisque would ensure acceptable and sound conditions because they would be supervised by female staff and incarcerated with persons of the same sex.”95 There is no doubt that the creation of the Rufisque women’s prison was a departure for the penitentiary administration, which had viewed as urgent the separation of male and female inmates to quell threats of mistreatment and sexual abuse, a crude reality during the colonial period. Nevertheless, the directive to transfer all female prisons to Rufisque also came a few months after the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter) in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 27, 1981. The charter is aimed at promoting and protecting basic human rights and basic freedom in the continent. Its Article 5 stipulates that: “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”96 In 1984, the Rufisque women’s prison welcomed its first female warden, a nomination that signaled its full autonomy, which became effective in 1986. In fact, Article 5 of Decree 86-1466 of November 28, 1986, enshrined the Rufisque prison as “designated for female offenders.”97 With its autonomy, the Rufisque prison freed itself from control by the Dakar prison. However, the 1986 decree was enacted a month after the ratification of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights on October 21, 1986. It modified Decree 661081 of December 31, 1966, taking into consideration the provisions of the Charter. It ushered in innovations in the incarceration of female offenders in

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Senegal, including vocational training, the hiring of more female staff, and separate rooms for pregnant inmates. These measures, nonexistent during the colonial period, signaled efforts to take the incarceration of female prisoners seriously, but also to adhere to regional and international agreements for the rights and treatment of prisoners, all of which Senegal has adopted or ratified. Therefore, it is safe to say that the establishment of the Rufisque women’s prison and subsequent laws to improve its operation called out institutional barriers faced by female prisoners. Its own identity is thus constructed, mainly, on the ground of opposing male incarceration. While the creation of the prison represented a breakthrough in the politics of prisons in post-1960 Senegal, its architecture did not break with colonial patterns. Located at Rufisque, a town some fifteen miles from Dakar, the prison is housed in a facility built in 1930 that previously served as a police station. Housing the country’s only women’s prison in an old colonial building assumes a faulty understanding of prison architecture. However, the attention to women’s incarceration in Senegal was a defining moment in the 1970s decentralization policies. The 1980s ushered in a new era of prison reform as more policies were implemented to ensure greater stability and autonomy of the penitentiary agency. This was a significant decade for prison makeover once the Senegalese government realized that prison buildings, not just penal reforms, matter. After 1960, the government shut down the most dilapidated prisons. Surprisingly, by the early 1980s, it reopened and renovated a few prisons to increase capacity and improve detention conditions. Most renovations involved adding new cells (to enforce solitary confinement) and building latrines, which were lacking in most prisons. Furthermore, the penitentiary administration directed its efforts in two directions: a rehabilitation of prisoners for their return to society and a reorganization of the prison regime. One way to achieve these new policies was a categorization of prisons. In 1983, Ibrahima Wone, then Senegal’s interior minister, toured prisons to implement the policies. He visited the penal camp at Hann, in Dakar, where the warden shared his efforts to reorganize labor at the camp toward a vocational form to align with the rehabilitation efforts initiated by the government. The Dakar penal camp opened in 1943 while under construction, to accommodate prisoners from the crowded prison of Dakar.98 It was remodeled after 1960 to house prisoners sentenced to long terms and forced labor. Known today as the Liberté VI penal camp, it takes its name from one of Dakar’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. It offers its residents vocational training, including construction, carpentry, welding, and so forth. At other institutions, Minister Wone met with prisoners, who complained about small rooms, poor diet, lack of running water, and inadequate sanitary



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facilities, all of which increased susceptibility to disease and other health problems.99 The prisoners begged the minister to allow them to stay in the courtyards during the day because the dormitories were airless. These grievances sound familiar; they carried echoes of the terrible conditions of the colonial prisons. Wone acknowledged the old age of prisons but insisted that limited funding hindered their much-needed makeover. The similarity in the politics of prison construction between the colonial and the post-colonial periods is striking but not surprising given that the postcolonial state adopted the colonial state’s patchwork approach on prisons. The fruit of that approach is visible in crumbling prison infrastructure today, after fifty-seven years of independence. So, it is doubtful that the post-colonial state achieved a more coherent policy than the colonial state. However, foreign financial and technical aid seemed to balance governmental interventions. Daour Diop, a social worker in service at the Liberté VI penal camp when I visited the prison in 2003, indicated in his thesis on the penitentiary administration in post-colonial Senegal that the renovation of most prisons was made possible with funds from the World Bank.100 Wone’s tour and têteà-tête with prisoners formed a catalyst that allowed the government to devise new penal policies with a hint of political motivation shaped by the ideology of the Diouf administration. On October 25, 1983, a few months after his visit, an executive order to ease overcrowding was issued.101 By that time, Abdou Diouf had been Senegal’s president for almost two years, following President Senghor’s resignation in 1981. Diouf’s priority, Momar C. Diop and Mamadou Diouf argued, was to consolidate his power. They convincingly explained that the structure of his hegemony centered on control of the bureaucratic machine, control that spurred constitutional reforms, a change in political personnel, and an attempt to fight corruption (with the creation of a special tribunal to try racketeering and money-laundering cases).102 It was against this backdrop that the Diouf administration issued the order, signaling a long overdue shake-up of the prison system. The 1983 executive order sanctioned the reopening of old facilities and the classification of prisons nationwide. Under the new classification, penal camps (camp pénaux) housed hard-labor prisoners, hardened convicts, and those serving sentences of more than one year. Offenders sentenced for minor felonies remained in correctional prisons (Maisons de correction) while arrested offenders were locked up in houses of detention (Maisons d’arrêt). This formula reproduced most of the categorization of colonial prisons stipulated by the Decree of October 22, 1947, the last colonial prison legislation in French Senegal. In 1983, a new prison was also established in Sébikhotane, some twenty miles from Dakar. That same year, the camps of Foudiougne, Nioro-du Rip, Mbacké, and Sédhiou, vestiges of the colonial penal legacy,

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were also renovated, and the prison of Tivaoune was upgraded, changing its status from a house of corrections to a house of arrest and correction.103 A year later, the Koutal penal camp, another symbol of the colonial penal camp system, was reopened and renovated into a 400-bed facility to house prisoners sentenced to more than one year in prison. This architectural makeover of the colonial prisons ran parallel with the passing of additional legislation to restructure the management of the prisons. For instance, Decree 84-145 of February 8, 1984, strengthened the operation and regimen of the houses of arrest. The Diouf administration also scored some political points by requiring a thorough classification of prisoners a pre-condition to improve detention conditions, restoring in the process the classic separation of prisoners based on age, sex, type of crime, and length of sentence. This classification was achieved through the Decree 86-1466 of November 28, 1986. Thus, minor delinquents were incarcerated at the Fort B prison, keeping in line with the penitentiary school system of the colonial period. Inmates suffering from mental health problems and infectious diseases were confined at the Cap Manuel prison in Dakar. The Koutal prison accommodated inmates suffering from leprosy while a section of the Dantec Hospital, one of the country’s largest hospitals, housed sick inmates requiring particular types of care; it is essentially a small hospital, except all patients are inmates. The Diouf administration also emphasized the rehabilitation of inmates as the core of its prison policies. Two decades after independence, the rehabilitation in Senegalese prisons was almost nonexistent. Hence, the time was ripe for action. A focus on rehabilitation was not new, but it was pushed by the Diouf regime, which put into effect new guidelines to add workshops to the renovated prisons, to fight idleness and provide prisoners with skills. In revamping the colonial prison infrastructure, solitary confinement was also prioritized to achieve prisoner rehabilitation. Decree 66-1081 of December 31, 1966, and Articles 688 and 691 of the Code of Penal Procedure formalized the use of solitary confinement in the houses of arrest and correction as a precondition for the rehabilitation of inmates. However, those who crafted these legal tools failed to recognize that solitary confinement functions best in sound architectural settings. What took place in the 1980s during the prison makeover frenzy was a simulation of solitary confinement: large dormitories and communal rooms of the colonial prisons were split into smaller cells. That is, prison officials equated splitting large rooms into smaller cells with solitary confinement. The increasing prison populations over the decades led them to realize that solitary confinement was a prison architectural luxury they could not afford. What is considered today as cellular confinement differs slightly from what existed during the colonial era, the difference being that cellular confinement



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in French Senegal was aimed at segregating European and African detainees. The few remaining cells in current prisons are reserved for political prisoners and dangerous criminals who nevertheless crowded together in groups of five or more. By 1985, as prison populations increased rapidly, solitary confinement was phased out in favor of communal confinement. The same year, a ministerial decree amended Decree 66-1081 of December 31, 1966. Although in its first iteration the law of February 27, 1985, pivoted the penitentiary administration into new missions to enforce security and promote social and vocational skills among prisoners, in its final iteration, it gutted solitary confinement. It also modified the organization and naming of prisons in the region of Dakar. Consequently, Fort B, reserved for young offenders, became the MAC of Hann. The penal camp of Dakar was renamed the Liberté VI penal camp. Finally, the prison of Dakar became the Maison Centrale d’Arrêt de Dakar and was designated to house only arrested offenders and those awaiting trial.104 The evidence reveals that the architectural makeover of the prison facilities in the 1980s also occurred in a context of changing national prison standards. During the reopening ceremony of the Koutal penal camp in 1984, Minister Wone stressed that “the main goal of the Diouf administration is to align detention conditions with the provisions of the Penal Code and the Code of Penal Procedure, which had been recently revised for the first time since their enactment in 1965. Both codes stipulate the incarceration of inmates in prisons that respond to their needs.”105 During the ceremony, Wone also emphasized President Diouf’s measures to humanize prison sentences. He said: The prison administration should not solely focus on keeping inmates and it is not its duty to send back to society individuals who are filled with hate and bitterness than ever before they went to prison. The dignity of inmates and their successful return to society should align with President Diouf’s campaign to humanize prison sentences.106

As part of the measures to bring more humanitarian conditions to prisons, in 1984 the Diouf regime dispatched the first cohort of social workers into the prisons to provide free counseling services to inmates. It went the extra mile by introducing inmates to meditation when it released ministerial Decree 7117 of May 21, 1987, which enforced new prison rules, among others a genuine focus on the rehabilitation of inmates.107 The decree instructed the penitentiary administration to implement Transcendental Meditation for inmates, prison guards, and officers.108 Transcendental Meditation, founded by the Indian philosopher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008), involves natural relaxation and meditation techniques to reduce stress and attain happiness. Practitioners meditate for twenty minutes twice per day, using a secret Sanskrit word, or mantra. From 1987 to 1989, more than 11,000 pris-

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oners and 900 prison guards and administrators in 31 out of the 34 prisons in Senegal were initiated in Transcendental Meditation techniques. Prison officials were enthusiastic about the program, lauding its amazing benefits. Indeed, studies of the impact of the Transcendental Meditation program in Senegalese prisons, have shown significant benefits for prisoners, including “a sharp reduction in negativity, irritability, and aggressiveness; improved relations between inmates, improvement in health, sleep, and a decreased in drug consumption.”109 The studies also stressed similar benefits for the prison staff: “greater self-confidence and control, greater concern for inmates, improved health, and decreased absenteeism and lateness.”110 In addition, prison officials in Senegal claimed that the Transcendental Meditation program produced “a sharp decrease in the number of medical consultations as much as 70–80 percent.”111 However, its effect, they argued, was most significant on the recidivism rates. Colonel Mamadou Diop, then director of the Penitentiary Administration, was quoted stating: “Indeed, we can say that in Senegal usually about 90 percent of the released inmates after serving their sentence (or those released in the yearly presidential amnesty) come back to prison within one or two months.”112 He went on to admit that, “However, six months after the presidential amnesty in June 1988, in which 2,390 offenders were released, we could register less than forty recidivists who were meditators.” Candidly recognizing that “there is no structure or scheme for the reintegration of inmates into society, nor is there any provision for work or jobs for those released,” Diop was convinced, with real justification, that “the only possible explanation for this remarkable drop in recidivism in our country is to be found in the application of the program.” In other words, the recidivism rate for the Transcendental Meditation program participants was very small. Moreover, during the two years of the implementation of Transcendental Meditation, the prison population in Senegal dropped to a point where “three of the prisons were closed for six months due to a lack of inmates, and eight others functioned at reduced capacity, with occupation rates between 6 and 30 per cent of their usual rates.”113 Prison officials also associated the program with high productivity of prisoners in an environment of lacking vocational training. At the Bignona prison, in the region of Casamance, the warden claimed it awakened enthusiasm among prisoners who “volunteered to establish a nursery of 25,000 plants for the Forest Department.”114 Despite these positive results, the difficulties in organizing the Transcendental Meditation program, namely the unique conditions within Senegalese prisons, presented a significant obstacle to carrying it out in the long term; it was canceled by 1989. However, it is accurate to say that its positive outcomes might have contributed to persuading the Diouf regime by the early 1990s to move in a new direction regarding the treatment and



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rehabilitation of prisoners, crafting in the process a new prison reform announced by the president himself. On November 3, 1993, during a speech at the official opening of the Senegalese courts, an annual tradition officiated by the president of the republic, Abdou Diouf made clear his intention to reform the prison system. He was very explicit. Imprisonment had been decried for its failure to bolster the social rehabilitation of prisoners effectively. Rising crime, especially juvenile delinquency, overcrowded prisons, and growing recidivism rates provide enough justification for us to explore non-custodial sentencing options. Our country could no longer ignore the urgent need to take a fresh look at its penal practices. Indeed, that assessment process is part of a broader international movement. However, the use of alternative sentences requires proper judicial and administrative structures. First, to levy tailored penalties against offenders, judges must adequately know more about the offenders. Second, there is no doubt that the appointment of a sentencing judge is necessary to effectively monitor and control offenders’ compliance with criminal penalties.115

Finding and implementing alternative solutions to imprisonment requires coordination and commitment. In 1995, two years after this speech, the Direction des Affaires Criminelles et Grâces116 appointed a committee to reflect on those solutions. The direction also established the post of the juge d’application des peines (sentencing judge)117 and devised noncustodial sentencing options. Odette-Luce Bouvier, a member of the committee, stressed that the main idea was to “get judges into prisons.”118 Interestingly, Decree 95-315 of March 16, 1995, which sanctioned the organization of the different state agencies, provided momentum for the Direction des Affaires Criminelles et Grâces to carry out its mission. In 1997, a year after the 1996 Kampala declaration,119 expressing the commitment of African counties to develop alternative solutions to imprisonment, the committee members completed a prison reform proposal. After a thorough study of penal codes and alternative solutions in thirty-six countries around the world, they recommended alternative sentences, including probation, community service, split sentences, and suspended sentences with or without a supervision order. These solutions resonated within the country’s legal circles. In 1998, Jacques Baudin, then Senegal’s justice minister, seized on the committee members’ recommendations to visit prisons, carrying with him their call for less imprisonment and more freedom.120 The Direction of the Penitentiary Administration also built on the momentum by adopting a new slogan that reflected the Diouf administration’s commitment to noncustodial sentencing options: “la récupération d’un homme n’a pas de prix” “the rehabilitation (or salvation) of a man is priceless.” The slogan also aligned with the regime’s call

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for humanization of prison sentences. The Diouf administration realized that the implementation of alternative solutions to imprisonment required better coordination between the judicial and penitentiary services. It formalized that coordination through Decree 98-49 of January 17, 1998, which brought the DAP once again under the justice minister. It also approved Decree 99-06 of January 29, 1999, which modified some provisions of the Code of Penal Procedure. Finally, it submitted the 1997 prison reform proposal to the National Assembly for approval in April 1999. These prison innovations were dashed by February 2000, when a huge breath of democracy swept Senegal, bringing into power a new president: Wade Abdoulaye. Unlike previous presidents, Wade is no stranger to prison life. He was imprisoned in 1988 and 1993, both years of presidential elections in Senegal. Meanwhile, his presidency opened with the biggest prison scandal ever: the escape of Abatalib Samb and his 70 million francs CFA capture, an escape blamed on the continued neglect of the prison infrastructure. In the early days of his administration, President Wade embarked on a mission to overhaul the executive, legislative, and judicial powers in Senegal. On January 7, 2001, a new constitution was approved. On December 29, 2000, two major decrees, 2000-38 and 2000-39, modified respectively the penal code and the code of penal procedure. This much-needed revision of these legal tools opened a new era in the administration of justice in Senegal, marked by a stronger emphasis on the rehabilitation of prisoners as the fundamental function of imprisonment in Senegal. Still, the codes maintain the functions of deterrence, retribution, and incapacitation. The codes also eliminated a provision in the Senegalese legal system that prevented offenders serving long prison sentences from appealing their convictions. Similarly, the 2001 penal code also introduced new legal structures to ensure fair execution of prison sentences: Le Comité de l’Aménagement des Peines,121 la Commission Pénitentiaire Consultative de l’Aménagement des Peines,122 and le Comité de Suivi en Milieu Ouvert.123 The code empowered these structures to make recommendations for reduced sentences, early releases, parole, probation, and other noncustodial sentences, commutation of prison sentences, and reentryrelated programs.124 They work closely with or under the command of the juge de l’application des peines (sentencing judge), a position announced by the Diouf administration, but put in place by the 2001 judicial reform. Deeply rooted in the French legal tradition, the position of juge de l’application des peines is not an innovation in Senegal. Indeed, it dates back to the colonial period, when the presence of the judge was even manifested in the architecture of prisons (see chapter 3). These innovations in the world of prisons and changes in the administration of justice in Senegal in the early 2000s might lead one to wonder if the Wade presidency was the rehabilitation era. Did



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his prison stays and his background as a lawyer influence these changes? Or were the changes simply another political stunt by a new administration? Answers to these questions require further research and data. What we know for sure is that during Wade’s administration (2002–2012), the state was not “soft on crime” because, as discussed above, the prison population in Senegal has doubled while crime rates skyrocketed, dashing all hope to carry on the fundamental mission of the Senegalese prison: the rehabilitation of prisoners. Despite the categorization of prisons and prisoners, the rehabilitation efforts, the revamping and extension of existing prison facilities, and the reform projects initiated from the 1970s through the early 2000s to improve prison conditions in Senegal, the different administrations failed to address the most significant factor in the operation of prisons: the prison infrastructure and architecture. As might be expected, architectural deficiencies persisted after independence, making them today a marker of Senegalese prisons. To say that no new prisons have been built since 1960 is simply a duplication; while those established in the 1980s were housed in old colonial buildings, inviting unhealthiness and the threat of collapsing buildings. To illustrate, Fort B, the prison for minor offenders, was built in 1934 and then abandoned by the colonial army after independence in 1964. The Cap Manuel prison was the former lazaretto of Dakar, a facility designated for the treatment of mentally ill patients during French rule. Previously, the lazaretto was a quarantine facility for victims of the plague epidemics that hit the colony, mainly in the early decades of the twentieth century (see chapter 2). The hospital was recycled into a facility for sick prisoners, maintaining its medical function but also retaining the punishment aspect via its denomination as a prison. The MAC de Sébikhotane is housed in the former William Ponty School, a colonial school attended by some of the fathers of African independence. These findings gave the local media much to write about the state of prisons in the country. In 1998, an article published in the private newspaper, Wal Fadjri, expressed alarm about sections of the Rebeuss prison that were on the brink of collapsing.125 In the article, the prison warden was quoted saying: “the prison needed extensive repair; in some rooms the iron structure of the ceiling is in plain sight, causing pieces of concrete to fall on inmates and guards.”126 That year, Justice Minister Jacques Baudin vowed to push for the relocation of the Rebeuss prison. Surprisingly, he supported the construction of new quarters to extend it.127 It could be argued that prison officials used the Wal Fadjri article to bring the government to task. In 1999, Leïty Ka, director of the DAP, urged Serigne Diop, the newly appointed justice minister, to help revamp the Rebeuss prison. The minister visited the prison to assess the problems. A journalist who accompanied him dubbed rooms nine and ten, the largest rooms in the prison, “Chinatown.” Each room, the journalist

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wrote, “had over a hundred inmates.”128 There is no doubt that overcrowding defined the Rebeuss prison and others in the country. By 2001, the total number of prison beds went from 3,283 down to 2,972 after the DAP shut down crumbling facilities at the penal camps of Liberté VI and Koutal and the MAC of Kaolack and Hann.129 A major headache for prison officials and a curiosity for and obsession for the media, the condition of prisons fueled debates defined by frustration and fury. In 2000, an anonymous writer wrote an op-ed that was printed in a privately-owned newspaper, denouncing the squalid prison conditions in Senegal and their effects on inmates. He called for an overall assessment of the prison environment after visiting a friend who was incarcerated at the MAC of Louga.130 The inadequacies of the Louga prison, he wrote, “exposed inmates to crumbly walls and lung infections, which were prevalent among the inmates.”131 He expanded his critique, stating that “sewage pipes are so close to cells and dormitories that the walls and corridors of the prison are covered with mold.” Just as the inadequacies of the colonial prison infrastructure facilitated massive prison breaks, escapes in post-colonial Senegal resulted from the same flaws. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a series of incidents, including the stunning escapes of Abatalib Samb, triggered a shake-up of the penitentiary administration and forced prison officials to take a hard look at prison security systems. In June 1999, Abatalib Samb, nicknamed Ino, bolted from the Rebeuss prison with two other inmates. Captured a few days later, Ino became a national sensation, giving media interviews and bragging about the ease of escaping from the Rebeuss prison without accomplices.132 The incident cast doubt on the categorization of the prison as a maximum-security facility. But because one of the assistant wardens was found guilty of complicity for assisting the escapees and was later dismissed from his job, many Senegalese questioned the likelihood of escaping from the prison without help. When Ino escaped for the second time in 2001,133 the Wade regime, like the previous administrations, blamed the old age of the prison facilities, a slack management, and the shortage of prison staff. An investigation revealed that on the day Ino fled, a crew of only 20 prison guards supervised more than 1,097 inmates.134 The escape of three inmates from the Liberté VI penal camp in September that year made 2001 the year with the highest number of escapes ever recorded in the Dakar prisons.135 A surveillance lapse allowed the three inmates to walk to freedom through the camp’s main gate, located a few feet away from the workshops where they worked every day. There is no doubt that the main gate was left unlocked. Thus, prisoners exploited the internal layout of the prison and the security lapses to wiggle their way to freedom. But, no one other than Ino believed that it was easy to escape from the country’s prisons. When in 2002, Dakar’s public prosecutor handed him



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a ten-year sentence after his second escape, he seemed unbothered by the verdict and vowed to flee again.136 As the stories of the guards’ complicity in Ino’s escapes proliferated, their professionalism and work ethics continued to be questioned. However, ex-prisoners offered another perspective regarding such complicity. In 1999, former prisoner Boubacar Sy, nicknamed Chino, agreed to an interview with a local newspaper. At the time of the interview, Chino lived with his family in the Rebeuss neighborhood. Chino, who like Ino also made the front pages of the country’s newspapers as a renowned criminal, strongly debunked the possibility of escaping from the Rebeuss prison without support.137 He escaped three times and said that each time he got help. The first time, he contended, a guard opened the door for him and, after Chino made his way to a corridor, he used his bed sheet to make a rope to which he tied a nine-inch-piece of iron. Using the rope, he climbed the prison wall and made his way out. The second time, he stated, a prison guard smuggled in a drill he used to cut the bars of his cell to fly to freedom. For his third escape, Chino claimed, he drugged a guard who often asked him for a cup of coffee. He slipped into the drink two pills he was prescribed after he faked mental illness.138 There is no evidence to corroborate Chino’s statements. However, prison officials went into a damage-control mode, firing back at criticisms generated in part because of the late 1990s and early 2000s escapes. As those incidents stained their image, they seized on the burgeoning private media to voice their grievances, inviting the public to “stop pulling in opposite directions on prison staff.”139 Furthermore, in 2003, prison guards went on strike when six of their colleagues were indicted and incarcerated in Rebeuss on abuse charges after an inmate who was handcuffed for days had his arms amputated. Seizing on the momentum, the strikers asked for the release of their colleagues, better work conditions, and the resignation of the director of the DAP.140 These demands seemed to emphasize the distance between them and the institution at which they worked. When the prison guard strike broke out, I was in Senegal, but by the time I left to return in the United States, two of the guards had been released while the others were awaiting trial. Alioune M’Bengue, the amputee who was serving a ten-year sentence on a murder conviction for the death of a young soldier, was exonerated following pressure from human rights organizations. Since 1960, when Senegal became independent from France, prisons have undergone changes that reflect the changing nature of the post-colonial state. As different administrations have learned to adjust their prison policies based on political, economic, and social circumstances, imprisonment has taken on new forms and responded to such circumstances, therefore revealing an ideological discontinuity with the colonial period. For example, in the 1960s, prisons were weaponized for the sake of advancing a political agenda.

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As political instability and economic crisis gripped the country after 1960, different administrations continued to utilize prisons with even greater intensity during the post-colonial period. This shift in the use of imprisonment affected the administration of prisons, which transformed them over time. However, the Senegalese government has yet to propose specific legislation to combat the prison crisis. Although new penal legislation, rules, and programs were introduced to reform prisons and answer the needs of prison workers and inmates, some features of the colonial prisons continue to dominate in independent Senegal. The most visible are the buildings, which, despite an architectural makeover, are still inadequate. However, despite enduring attacks and criticisms, an acceptance of the prison has emerged, even if the system as a whole continues to function poorly. As the post-colonial state inherited the colonial penal legacy in 1960, it also inherited all the problems that plagued the colonial prisons, turning the legacy into a heavy burden to maintain and manage. Fifty-eight years after independence, prisons and prisoners in Senegal continue to demand for attention, provoking unrest. As previously discussed, when inmates at the Rebeuss prison rioted on September 20, 2016,141 overcrowding, long pretrial detention, a shortage of judges, a poor diet, and of course, crumbling facilities unleashed their grievances. These factors exhausted inmates, predisposing them to unrest. They also reflect the ill-conceived reappropriation of the colonial penal legacy, implying, of course, that penal policies and reforms since 1960 have been ineffective and that today it requires a different set of tactics, skills, attitudes, and financial means to manage Senegalese prisons. New prisons are being built for the first time since 1960, and this section provides only a glimpse of the new policy of prison construction in Senegal. Therefore, many questions remain unanswered and call for more inquiry. In the context of a new prison construction program, what are the approaches to prison architecture and punishment in Senegal more than fifty years into independence? What are the architectural styles of the newly built prisons? Do those styles wed with the ideals and ideas of punishment in post-colonial Senegal? In what ways and to what extent do the construction of new prisons affect the general management of prisons? Besides building new prisons, what other approaches do prison officials and political authorities officials adopt in keeping or maintaining the colonial penal legacy? Moreover, an in-depth study of inmates’ assessment of prison conditions in the new prisons built is warranted to measure the impact of the current policy of prison construction on the rehabilitation of prisoners. Studies of what life in the new prisons is like with regard to their architectural norms would also be useful to measure the authorities’ approach regarding the connection between prison architecture and punishment. For that, it would



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be useful to conduct more extensive inmate surveys. Also, it is necessary to document how prison conditions change today in response to emerging prison construction policies, assuming that the government will build more prisons in the future. Finally, further research into the correlation between crime rates and incarceration rates may reveal the sources of overcrowding and long-pretrial detention, two issues that have hindered the management of prisons in Senegal since the early 2000s. From a policy-oriented perspective, I hope this research helps both prison officials and political authorities to understand at least some of the problems that plague the country’s prison system and the sources of those problems. NOTES 1.  Mouhamadou Bâ, “Situation carcérale du Sénégal. Aucune prison n’a étè construite depuis l’époque coloniale,” Rewmi.com, accessed May 29, 2018, http://www .rewmi.com/situation-carcerale-du-senegal-aucune-prison-n-a-ete-construite-depuis -l-epoque-coloniale_a86122.html. 2.  Souleymance Diam Sy et Ndiol Mbacké Seck, “Niani: L’ insoumis royaume d’hospitalité,” Tambacounda Info, accessed June 2, 2018, http://www.tambacounda .info/2015/09/23/niani-linsoumis-royaume-dhospitalite. 3. “Ndougousine, Goundiour, Ndiambour, Kisiang or encore Koumpentoum Socé: Les clichés d’échec et de d’echéance bien ancrés dans les mentalités,” Senxibar. com, accessed May 25, 2018, https://www.senxibar.com/Nodugousine-GoundiorNdiambour-Kisiang-ou-encore-Koumpentoum-Soce-les-cliches-d-echec-et-de-de cheance-bien-ancres-dans-les-mentatlites. 4. Ibid. 5.  Gresham M. Sykes, The Society of Captives: Study of a Maximum-Security Prison (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Revised Edition, 2007), 84. 6.  Ibid., 85. 7.  Ibid., 86. 8.  Ibid., 86. 9.  “Prisoners are served a piece of bread and a cup of quinkeliba (local infusion) for breakfast. Their lunch or “diagan méchant onsists of rice and dried fish (kéthiax) or herring (yaay booy) cook with or no oil,” in “Prison de Rebeuss. Tout sur la mutinerie du 29 novembre,” Le Matin, 14 Janvier 1997. 10.  The “youndo” or “younko” dinner meal consists of millet or sorghum couscous served with a sauce made with fish and sometimes with meat. 11.  Wolof is a native language and the most spoken in Senegal. 12.  On the basic rights of prisoners in Senegal, see El-Hadj Badara Ndiaye, “Les droits fondamenteaux des détenus au Sénégal,” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Droit Privé, 2003). 13.  Hans Toch, “Warehouses for People?” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 478, Our Crowded Prisons (1985): 58–72.

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14. Sykes, The Society of Captives, 63. 15.  Ibid., 78–79. 16.  “Population carcérale. Le taux d’entretien passe de 250 à 500 francs par jour,” Le Soleil, 22 Juin 2000. 17. Mamadou Salif Dieng, “La prison de Rebeuss réhabilitée,” Seneweb, accessed October 17, 2017, https://www.seneweb.com/news/Societe/la-prison-de -rebeuss-rehabilitee_n_215683.html. 18.  Prisons des cercles. Nombre de prisons au Sénégal, 1930, ANS 3F/00098. 19.  Prisons des cercles. Rapport annuel, 1942–1944, ANS 3F/00133. 20.  États des établissements pénitentiaires des territoires de l’AOF, 1952, ANS 21G207 (174). 21.  DAP, “Enquête sur la criminalité au Sénégal année 1967” (Dakar, 1968). 22.  DAP, “Enquête sur la criminalité au Sénégal année 1968” (Dakar, 1969). 23.  The number of prisoners in Senegal in 1978 is missing. 24.  Ibid., 101. 25.  François Zuccarelli, La vie politique Sénégalaise (1940–1988) (Paris: Centre des Hautes Études sur l’Afrique et l’ Asie modernes, 1988), 77. 26. Moustapha Diouf, “State Formation and Legitimation Crisis in Senegal,” Review of African Political Economy 54 (1992): 118. On the 1962 crisis, see Momar Coumba Diop et Mamadou Diouf, Le Sénégal sous Abdou Diouf: État et société (Paris: Karthala, 1990), 33–38. 27. On the political history of Senegal, see Gerti Hesseling, Histoire politique du Sénégal: institutions, droit et société (Paris: Karthala, 1985); Abdoulaye Ly, Les regroupements politiques au Sénégal: 1956–1975 (Dakar, Paris: Codesria; Karthala, 1992). 28.  Diop and Diouf, Le Sénégal, 36. 29.  E. Allan Farnsworth, “Law Reform in a Developing Country: A New Code of Obligations for Senegal,” Journal of African Law 8, no. 1 (1964): 8. 30.  Diop and Diouf, Le Sénégal, 38–45. 31.  On the 1968 student riot, see Abdoulaye Bathily, Mai 1968 ou La révolte universitaire et la démocratie (Paris: Éditions Chaka, 1992). 32.  Clement Cottingham, “Political Consolidation and Centre-Local Relations in Senegal,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 4, no. 1 (1970): 103. 33.  Diouf, “State Formation,” 121. 34.  On trade unions in Senegal in the 1960s and the 1970s, see Francis Mulot, “Syndicalisme et politique au Sénégal (1968-1969-1976),” Revue Française d’Études Politiques Africaines 158 (1983): 69–90. 35.  Robert Fatton Jr, “Gramsci and the Legitimization of the State: The Case of the Senegalese Passive Revolution,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 19, no. 4 (1986): 733. 36.  Catherine Boone, “State Power and Economic Crisis Senegal,” Comparative Politics 22, no. 3 (April 1990): 343. See also Linda Beck, “Senegal’s ‘Patrimonial Democrats’: Incremental Reform and the Obstacles to the Consolidation of Democracy,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 31, no. 1 (1997): 1–31. 37.  Boone, “State Power,” 346.



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38.  Pamela Cox and Richard Kessler, “‘Après Senghor’—A Socialist Senegal?” African Affairs 79, no. 316 (1980): 335. 39. Zuccarelli, La vie politique, 114. 40. On the malaise paysan, see Edward J. Schumacher, Politics, Bureaucracy, and Rural Development in Senegal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 213–18. 41.  Jonathan Barker, “Stability and Stagnation in Senegal,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 11, no. 1 (1977): 38. 42.  Ibid., 24–25. 43.  Beck, “Senegal’s Patrimonial Democrats,” 2. 44.  Fatton, “Gramsci,” 735. 45.  Boone, “State Power,” 349. 46.  Seydou Madani Sy, “La révision constitutionnelle du 26 février 1970,” Annales Africaines (1969): 9–28. 47.  Richard Vengroff and Alan Johnston, Decentralization and the Implementation of Rural Economic Development in Senegal (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Muller Press, 1989). 48.  Diop et Diouf, Le Sénégal, 54. 49.  René Collignon, “La lutte des pouvoirs contre les ‘encombrements humains’ à Dakar,” Canadian Journal of African Studies 18, no. 3 (1984): 573–82. 50.  Momar Coumba Diop, “L’administration sénégalaise et la gestion des ‘fléaux sociaux’ l’ héritage colonial,” in AOF: réalités et héritages. Sociétés ouest-africaines et ordre colonial, 1895–1960, eds., Charles Becker, Saliou Mbaye et Ibrahima Thioub (Dakar: Direction des Archives du Sénégal, 1997), 1129. See also M. M. Ndiaye, “Des ‘fléaux sociaux’ aux ‘encombrements humains’: essay d’approche de l’évolution de la sensibilité aux questions sociales à travers la presse quotidienne de 1960 à 1975” (Mémoire de Maitrise, Université de Dakar, Sociologie, 1979). 51.  Ibrahima Thioub et Ousseynou Faye, “Les marginaux et l’État à Dakar,” Le Movement Social 204, Sociétés et Espaces Urbains en Afrique (2003): 93–108. 52.  Ibid., 93. 53.  Ibid., 98. 54.  On the relationship between the state and the marabouts de l’arachide, see Jean Copans, Les Marabouts de l’ Arachide (Paris: Le Sycamore, 1980); Donal B. Cruise O’Brien, Saints and Politicians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975). On the clientelist relations between the state and Senegalese businessmen, see Catherine Boone, Merchants and the Roots of State Power in Senegal, 1930–1985 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Ibrahima Thioub, Momar Coumba Diop, and Catherine Boone, “Economic Liberalization in Senegal: Shifting Politics of Indigenous Business Interests,” African Studies Review 41, no. 2 (1998): 63–89. 55.  Collignon, “La lutte,” 574. 56.  Ibid., 573. See also L. S. Senghor, “Rapport introductif au Conseil National de l’UPS,” Le Soleil, 20 Janvier 1974, 3. 57.  Ibid., 575. For instance, “Senegal’s code offenses included contraventions that carry a one-month incarceration penalty, délits punishable by sentences of 1 month to 10 years, and crimes, which are punishable by sentences greater than 10 years. Far

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broader and encompassing the most offenses are the délits. These offenses are the equivalent of misdemeanors, felonies, and crimes. For more on the topic, see Michael Galezewski, “Senegal,” in From Crimes and Punishment around the World: Volume 1. Africa and the Middle East, eds. Graeme R. Newman, ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2010), 183–89. 58.  Collignon, “La lutte,” 576. 59.  Ibid., 577. 60.  Ibid., 576. 61.  On the structural adjustment in Senegal, see Christopher C. Delgado and Sidi Jammeh, eds., The Political Economy of Senegal under the Structural Adjustment (New York: Praeger, 1991). 62.  Mohamed M’Bodji, “La crise trentenaire de l’économie arachidière,” in Sénégal. Trajectoires d’un état, ed. Momar Coumba Diop (Dakar and Paris: Codesria and Karthala, 1992), 111. 63.  Ibid., 119. 64.  Momar-Coumba Diop, La lutte contre la pauvreté à Dakar. Vers la définition d’une politique municipale (Accra, Ghana: Programme de gestion urbaine, Bureau régional pour l’Afrique, 1996). 65.  Thioub, Diop, and Boone, “Economic Liberalization,” 71. 66.  Philippe Antoine et al., eds., Les familles Dakaroises face à la crise (Dakar: IFAN, ORSTOM, 1995), 126. 67.  M. Monkangui, “Le divorce: conséquences sociales et méfaits à Dakar” (Mémoire de fin d’études, ENAES, Dakar, 1984.) 68.  Dior Konaté, “L’histoire des modes d’incarcération au Sénégal: Les femmes en prison, 1925–1995” (Mémoire de Maîtrise, UCAD, Histoire, 1997), 46–47. 69.  Diène N’dour, “Le chômage au Sénégal: l’example de Dakar” (Mémoire de fin d’études, ENAES, Dakar, 1982). 70.  Codou Bop, “Les femmes chefs de famille à Dakar,” Afrique et Dévelopement 10, no. 4 (1995): 50–66. 71.  Thioub, Diop, and Boone, “Economic Liberalization,” 72. 72.  On the 1983 elections, see Donal Cruise O’Brien, “Les Elections Sénégalaises du 27 Fèvrier 1983,” Politique Africaine 11 (1984): 7–12. 73. For more on the 1988 elections, see Crawford Young and Babacar Kanté, “Governance, Democracy, and the 1988 Senegalese Elections,” in Governance and Politics in Africa, eds. Goran Hyden and Michael Bratton (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1992). 74.  DAP, “Enquête sur la criminalité et la population pénale au Sénégal, année 1983,” (Dakar, 1984): 2. 75.  DAP, “Enquête sur la criminalité et la population pénale au Sénégal, année 1988,” (Dakar, 1990): 4. 76. Makthar Diouf, Sénégal. Les éthnies et la nation (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1994), 129. 77.  Ibid., 120. 78.  John V. Magistro, “Crossing Over: Ethnicity and Transboundary Conflict in the Senegal River Valley,” Cahiers d’Études Africaines 33, no. 130 (1990): 201–32.



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On this conflict, see also Momar Coumba Diop, ed., Le Sénégal et ses voisins (Paris: Karthala, 1994). 79.  Magistro, “Crossing Over,” 203. 80.  Ibid., 204. 81.  The incarceration rates from 1981 to 1985 are missing because the Direction of the Penitentiary Administration started releasing those rates in 1986, the year of enactment of Decree 86-1466 of November 28, 1986, which modified Decree 661081 of December 31, 1996, the first legislation that organized the prison system in Senegal after independence. The 1986 decree specified the distribution of the prison population in prisons across the country. Therefore, it is impossible to estimate the incarceration rates for those years. 82. Serge Nédélec, “État et délinquence juvenile au Sénegal contemporain,” in Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique du 19e siècle à nos jours, ed. Florence Bernault (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1999), 414. 83.  Ibid., 415. 84.  DAP, “Statistiques sur l’évolution de la population carcérale au Sénégal année 2000” (Dakar, 2001). 85. “Senegal,” World Prison Brief Data, accessed May 25, 2018, http://www. prisonstudies.org/country/Senegal. 86.  On the 2000 presidential elections, see also Momar Coumba Diop, Mamadou Diouf et Aminata Diaw, “Le baobab a été déraciné: L’alternance au Sénégal,” Politique Africaine 78, no. 2 (2000): 157–79; Richard Vengroff and Michael Magala, “Democratic Reform, Transition and Consolidation: Evidence from Senegal’s 2000 Presidential Elections,” Journal of Modern African Studies 39, no. 1 (2001): 129–62. 87.  “Senegal,” World Prison Brief Data.” 88. Ibid. 89. Ibid. 90. In his study of youth delinquency in independent Senegal, Serge Nédélec argued that “judicial services, prisons, and police forces remained unchanged in the early 1960s,” in “État et délinquence,” 414. See also, Sandra Fullerton Joireman, “Inherited Legal Systems and Effective Rule of Law: Africa and the Colonial Legacy,” The Journal of Modern African Studies 39, no. 4 (2001): 571–96. 91.  Prison Civile de Saint-Louis. Justice Minister Guillabert to all governors of the regions, Dakar, July 31, 1963, ANS 3F/00073. 92.  “Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Senegal,” (United Nations General Assembly, March 23, 2009): 11. 93.  Ibrahima Thioub, Babacar Bâ, et Ibra Séne, “Sénégal: un système pénitentiaire en crise. Acteurs et enjeux des débats en cours,” Revue française d’histoire d’Outremer 81, no. 324–235 (1999): 125–50. 94.  Journal officiel du Sénégal, no. 4224, May 13, 1972, 750. 95.  DAP, “Note à l’attention de tous les régisseurs des prisons et camps pénaux,” Dakar, 29 Août 1981. 96.  “African Charter on Human and People’s Rights,” http://www.achpr.org/files/ instruments/achpr/banjul_charter.pdf.

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97.  As mentioned previously, Decree 86-1466 of November 28, 1986, amended some provisions of Decree 66-1081 of December 31, 1966. 98.  Dakar et dépendences. Rapport annual, 1943, ANS 2G43-15. 99.  “Préparer la réinsertion sociale des détenus,” Le Soleil, 22 juillet 1983. 100.  Daour Diop, “L’administration pénitentiaire du Sénégal: moyens de réinsertion et projet pour déveloper la prise en charge des libérés conditionels” (Mémoire d’Aptitude Professionnelle, École Nationale d’Administration Pénitentiaire de Fleury-Merogis, Sainte Genevieve-des-Bois, 1995), 11. 101.  “Réouverture d’anciens établissements pénitentiaires,” Le Soleil, 27 Octobre 1983. 102.  Diop et Diouf, Le Sénégal, 115. 103. “Réouverture,” Le Soleil. 104.  DAP, “Décret du 27 Février 1985 modifiant le décret 66-1081 of 31 Décembre 1966,” Dakar, 10 Octobre 1985. 105.  “Inauguration du camp pénal de Koutal,” Le Soleil, 23 février 1984. 106. Ibid. 107.  DAP, “Décret no 7117 du 21 Mai 1987 sur le régime des prisons au Sénégal,” Dakar, 21 Mai 1987. 108.  On the implementation and results of the Transcendental Meditation in the Senegalese prisons, see Farrokh K. Anklesaria and Michael S. King, “The Transcendental Meditation Program in the Senegalese Penitentiary System,” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 36, no. 1–4 (2003): 303–18; Farrokh K. Anklesaria, “The Transcendental Meditation Program in the Senegalese Penitentiary System,” in Transcendental Meditation in Criminal Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention, eds. Charles N. Alexander et al, (New York: The Haworth Press, Inc., 2003), 303–19; Jean-Michel Boudigues, “New Horizons in Criminology and Penitentiary Science: The Maharishi Unified Field Based Integrated System of Rehabilitation in the Senegalese Prison,” Annual Seminar of the Penitentiary Administration; Scientific Research on Maharishi Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme, Collected Papers, Vol. 6, Paper 482 (1990): 4048–49. 109.  Boudigues, “New Horizons in Criminology,” 4048. 110. Ibid. 111.  Ibid., 4049. 112. Ibid. 113. Ibid. 114. Ibid. 115.  Odette-Luce Bouvier, “The Senegalese Reform of Project on Alternatives to Imprisonment,” Penal Reform International (2000): 5. 116.  The Director des Affaires Criminelles et Grâces is literally the Direction of Criminal Affairs and Pardons. 117. Literally, le juge d’application des peines is a judge in charge of overseeing the conditions and enforcement of a prisoner’s sentence. 118.  Bouvier, “The Senegalese Reform,” 1. 119. For three days, the Commission Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples met in Kampala to discuss prison conditions in Africa. For more information



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on the meeting, see Les conditions de la détention en Afrique. Actes d’un séminaire panafricain, Kampala, Ouganda, September 19–21, 1996 (Penal Reform International, 1997): 101–104. 120.  “Prise de contact avec Jacques Baudin: moins de prison, plus de liberté,” Le Soleil, 11 Février 1998. 121.  Le Comité de l’Aménagement des Peines is literally the Committee for the Adjustment of Prison Sentences. 122.  La Commission Pénitentiaire Consultative de l’ Aménagement des Peines is literally the Penitentiary Advisory Committee for the Adjustment of Prison Sentences. 123.  Le Comité de Suivi en Milieu Ouvert is literally the Monitoring Committee for Noncustodial Sentences. 124.  For a thorough study of these structures, see Ndiaye, “Les droits fondamenteaux des détenus au Sénégal.” 125.  “Prison de Rebeuss. Des parties du bâtiment menacent de s’écrouler,” Walf Fadjri, 11 Décembre 1998. 126. Ibid. 127.  “Prise de contact de Jacques Baudin: moins de prison, plus de liberté,” Le Soleil, 11 févier 1998. 128.  “Serigne Diop tâtes le pouls des prisons,” Le Soleil, 10 Novembre 1999. 129. DAP, “Statistiques sur l’évolution de la population carcérale année 2000” (Dakar, 2001). 130.  “Reconsider le milieu carcéral. Louga prison centrale,” L’Info, 13 août 2000. 131. Ibid. 132.  “Pour Ino, il est facile de s’évader de la prison de Dakar sans complicité,” L’info, 9 Juillet 1999. 133.  “Serigne Diop tâtes le pouls des prisons,” Le Soleil, 10 Novembre 1999. 134. “Les premières failles révélées par l’enquête à la prison de Rebeuss,” Le Soleil, 12 Juillet 2001. 135.  “Aprés l’épisode de Rebeuss, trois criminels s’échappent du camp pénal,” L’Info, 24 Septembre 2001. 136.  “Procès Ino et compagnons. Le procureur requiert 10 ans fermes,” L’Info, Juin 2002. 137.  “On ne peut sortir de Rebeuss sans complicité,” Walf Fadjri, 13 Juin 1999. 138. Ibid. 139.  “Arrêter de huer sur les gardes pénitenciers,” Le Soleil, 24 Septembre 2002. 140.  “Après la détention de six de leurs collégues, les gardes pénitenciers se rebellent,” Le Populaire, 11 Avril 2002. 141.  Mark Babatunde “Prisoners Riot at Rebeuss Prison in Senegal,” Face2Face Africa, accessed October 17, 2017, https://face2faceafrica.com/article/rebeussprison-du-senegal; “Senegal prisoner killed during riot becomes reform symbol,” News 24, accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.news24.com/.../senegal-prisoner -killed-during-riot-becomes-symbol-20; Aida Grovestins, “Long Pre-trial Detention Overcrowds Senegal Prisons,” VOA News, accessed October 17, 2017, https://www .voanews.com/a/long/detention...Senegal-prisons/3592691.html.

Appendix

Prison Experiences and Narratives The Power of Words

In the previous sections, I examined the legacy of the colonial prisons, using written documents, including official texts, laws, newspapers, secondary sources, as well as data and statistics published by the Direction of the Penitentiary Administration. In this section, I explore that legacy by looking at the condition of current prisons from the viewpoint of prisoners and staffers. Although written sources contain the most useful data on the history of prisons in colonial and post-colonial Senegal, oral sources contribute significantly to an understanding of the prison environment in Senegal. Inmates and staffers are uniquely positioned to explain what it is like to live or work in prison. Both groups have fascinating experiences and narratives about the social dynamics of prisons in Senegal. Moreover, most historical studies on prisons in Africa lack the human dimension. The oral data was collected through interviews with inmates and prison staffers conducted in Senegal from June to August 2013 at the camp pénal de Liberté VI, the MAF de Liberté VI, and the MAC de Rufisque, de Thiès, and de Saint-Louis. To contribute to an index of prison experience in Senegal, thirty prisoners and ten staffers at these prisons were asked to respond to two 40-item questionnaires (one for inmates and one for staffers) and to evaluate some factors and aspects of imprisonment in Senegal. They were asked about their views or perceptions of prisons before and after they landed or worked in a prison, including about detention conditions, working conditions, internal prison rules, the state, quality, and safety of prison buildings, relationships between inmates, relationships with families and staffers, and the “ideal” prisons and prison architecture. Respondents were also asked questions about post-release plans, rehabilitation programs, vocational and educational programs, and the changes they believe should take place to improve management of prisons in Senegal. Another set of questions asked 301

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for biographic information from inmates, such age as sex, place of birth, profession, the reason for and length of sentence, number of sentences, marital status, number of children, and education level. Staffers were also asked to indicate their current positions, time in the job, and training and degrees earned. These variables helped to create a portrait of the respondents. Permission to conduct the interviews was granted by the Direction of the Penitentiary Administration. The interviews, conducted in French, Wolof, and English, lasted approximately forty-five to sixty minutes each. The respondents were given an overview and a goal of the research, but also the choice to walk away from the interviews at any time, and they could refuse to answer specific questions. They were also asked to give their consent to pursue the interviews. There is no doubt that the data collected does not provide a quantitative assessment of prison life in Senegal, which is the subject of another inquiry. The goal in conducting the interviews was to build the foundation of a qualitative assessment of prison life in Senegal, to be further expanded later. A sample of forty inmates might be small to be drawing wide-reaching conclusions on prison life and the prison environment in the country. The findings can be viewed as limited given the small sample size. However, I have organized the material, which is evidence of how the informants lived and understood imprisonment, to provide for a coherent account. The words the interviewees uttered might never reach or matter to prison officials, but they address imprisonment and its problems in Senegal from their perspectives. The small size of the sample is the result of difficulties and limitations I had in conducting interviews in prisons. In the twenty years I have been researching the history of prisons in Senegal, I had never been denied access to inmates and prisons, but I wish that I could have access to all the information I wanted. Furthermore, I must comply with the rules and regulations of the penitentiary administration regarding prison surveys and interviews. Besides, despite the openness of most of the prison officials, I interacted with over those years and their acknowledgment of the importance of my research, on few occasions that openness was tainted by suspicion and mistrust of me and the research project. Gresham Sykes reminds us of the difficulties associated with studying prisons. He stressed that “the observer of the prison, then, must deal with the difficulties of any observer who wishes to glimpse reality rather than illustrations for a preconception, but he has the additional hazard of working in an area where disclosure may be costly.”1 RESULTS FOR PRISONERS In the questionnaire for inmates, the prisoners were not asked for their names, but some of them did say their names. Thus, to protect their identities, their



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real names have been changed. Different names were also attributed to all other prisoners to analyze the data and to draw findings. Although the interviews took place in Dakar, Thiès, Rufisque, and Saint-Louis, the respondents came from different regions in Senegal and also from other African countries. Of the thirty respondents, twenty-six were Senegalese, two were Nigerian, one was Cameroonian, and one was South African. Thirteen respondents were male, and seventeen were female. More women were interviewed because two of the five prisons I visited are women’s prisons. The youngest respondent was seventeen years old, and the oldest was seventy-five years old. The respondents’ socioeconomic status revealed that they came from all walks of life. Three respondents were unemployed, and four were fulltime students before being incarcerated; the other respondents’ occupations before imprisonment were a hairstylist, a teacher, a merchant, a carpenter, a seamstress, a bank teller, a plant worker, a housekeeper, a cook, and an artist. Regarding their marital status, of the thirty inmates, twelve were single, five were divorced, twelve were married, and one inmate was a widow. Of the twelve married respondents, two women were divorced while in prison, and one man explained that one of his wives filed for divorce after his incarceration. Nine of the respondents had no children, while the rest had an average of two children and one respondent had fifteen children. The age of the children ranged from five years old to forty years old. Seven of the participants never attended regular school while three went to Koranic school. Fifteen respondents attended regular school in grade levels ranging from third grade to twelfth grade, and five claimed they had been college students when they were convicted. As far as their criminal histories and the number of prison sentences, except for six respondents who declined to reveal the nature of their offenses, the other respondents were incarcerated for a variety of offenses. These included murder, rape, aggravated assault and battery, drug trafficking, infanticide, child molestation, misuse of public funds, robbery, and complicity to drug trafficking. While one female respondent declined to disclose her criminal history and six had reoffended twice (two of the recidivists committed the same crime), the rest of the respondents were first-time offenders without known criminal histories. The length of their prison sentences ranged from two months to twenty years of hard-labor prison. Eight of the thirty respondents were awaiting trial, including some who had been in pretrial detention for more than three years. RESULTS FOR STAFFERS In addition to the thirty prisoners, staffers were also interviewed during the same time and at the same prisons. Most of them were young men and

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women who had been in the job for at least three years, and some were already promoted to the next rank. The ten staffers included four correctional officers, two social workers, one nurse, one assistant prison director, and two soon-to-be correctional officers who were completing their internship as part of their training at the Police Academy. Except for the two social workers, who attended the national professional school for social workers, Ecole Nationale des Travailleurs Sociaux Spécialisés (E.N.T.S.S), the rest of the staffers competed for the Police Academy examinations and chose the field of penitentiary administration after they passed the exams. Six female and four male staffers were interviewed. DISCUSSION I combine the findings from both the prisoners’ and the staffers’ interviews, but I will focus more on the prisoners’ experiences and narratives of imprisonment and supplement their stories with answers from staffers. The analysis of the history of prison architecture and punishment in Senegal also builds on the rich sociological, criminological, and psychological literature on the different and multiple aspects of prisons including the study of prison life. The data collected in the five prisons provides considerable insight into how inmates in Senegalese prisons cope with or adjust to prison life. These processes of socialization in prison are commonly referred to as “prisonization,” a term coined by Donald Clemmer in his book, The Prison Community, a sociological study of the prison experience.2 In the book, Clemmer discussed how inmates progressively assimilated norms of the prison culture. He called that assimilation prisonization, which he defines as “the taking on in a greater or less degree of the folkways, mores, customs, and general culture of the penitentiary.”3 Many of the studies on prison life have concluded that prisons are social systems;4 that they functioned as an “environment,”5 a “community,”6 a “society,”7 or an “alternate society,”8 even though it was a “society of captives”9 to quote Gresham Sykes. Indeed, Sykes stressed that “to understand the meaning of imprisonment, we must see prison life as something more than a matter of walls and bars, of cells and blocks. We must see the prison as a society within a society.”10 He also urged scholars of prisons to “examine this society from the viewpoint of inmates more systematically and in more detail.”11 However, he cautioned researchers to keep in mind that “each man brings to the custodial institution his own needs and his own background and each man takes away from the prison his own interpretation of life within the walls.”12 On a different note, in Living in Prison: The Ecology of Survival, Hans Toch discusses prisons as environments to understand life behind bars. Focusing on the stress felt by inmates facing enormous challenges to survival



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in prisons, Toch argues that inmates try to create a prison environment where eight dimensions–privacy, structure, safety, support, emotional feedback, social stimulation, activity, and freedom”13 are desired to alleviate the “pains of imprisonment.”14 Indeed, some studies have concluded, without refutation, that inmates had a big impact on the quality of prison life.15 However, others have shown that prison officials have a bigger influence on the quality of prison life. To illustrate, Sykes argued that “in the prison power must be based on something other than internalized morality and the custodians find themselves confronting men who must be forced, bribed, and cajoled into compliance.16 He went on to stress that “the ability of the officials to physically enforced coerce their captives into the paths of compliance is something of an illusion as far as the day-to-day activities of the prison are concerned.”17 This lack of total control over inmates creates what he called “the defects of total power.”18 In contrast, John Dilulio argued that prison officials “are neither the pawns of inmate society nor captives of broader sociopolitical developments.”19 Other studies emphasized the significance of a prison setting on the quality of prison life. For instance, Kenneth Adams stated that “aspects of prison’s architecture, regime, inmate population, staff, living arrangements, and program activities all combine to create a distinctive “atmosphere” that can be identified by inmates and staff alive.”20 Adams concluded that “inmates behave differently in different prison settings.”21 All these interesting arguments about prison life ring true in Senegal where the world of prisons is documented in the powerful words from prisoners and staffers who discussed the deprivations, challenges, needs, preoccupations, and situations that stand at the core of their prison experiences. The prisoners I interviewed landed in prison for a variety of reasons and crimes; the one certainty of their prison experiences and narratives is that imprisonment is personal. They had stunning stories, but in the aggregate their prison experiences are different. What became apparent through their stories is, of course, that they react to and adapt to imprisonment in diverse ways. For instance, some took an overwhelming imprisonment experience and turned it into something positive. Rather than rebel, others found ways to get through their prison journey by building a prison experience. Some of the informants also channeled their emotions into reading or learning holy books such as the Koran; they have not let imprisonment get in the way of their religion. Most of them claimed that imprisonment had not tested their faith, rather they have leaned on their faith to cope. Others found ways to reimagine life behind bars by building support networks with fellow inmates and prison staffers. The prisoners’ stories are ripe with commentary about family, marriage, children, being wives or husbands, parenthood, failures, and hope. Most respondents claimed their families were deeply affected by their incarceration, a result of the stigma associated with imprisonment in Senegal. The

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conversations with them suggest that the existence or absence of contact with families, friends, and relatives during the period of incarceration affect how they cope with life behind bars. For example, 70 percent of respondents said they received support and visits from families, relatives, and friends, but not on a regular basis, and 20 percent said they lost close friends when they went to prison. Those have received few visits or no visits at all from loved ones worried their families were rejecting them. Coumba, a forty-year-old female inmate and divorced mother of three children was serving six years at the prison in Thiès for infanticide. She stated that she always looked forward to visits from her mother, who came only once every six months because of advanced age and because she lived far from Thiès.22 Codou, a 23-year-old woman who had worked as a hotel manager in Dakar and was serving four months at the Saint-Louis prison on a charge of robbery, claimed she was not receiving visits because her family was not aware of her incarceration.23 For foreign prisoners, lack of family visits added to their burden. According to Aïssatou, a 29-year-old female prisoner from Guinée who was serving a one-year sentence at the MAF de Liberté VI, her parents never visited her because they could not make the trip to Senegal.24 Aïssatou’s story was not unique. Zuma, a 40-year-old female prisoner from South Africa who was serving ten years at the MAC de Rufisque, a women’s prison, for drug trafficking, maintained that she was visited only by the staff of the South African embassy in Senegal. She was allowed to call her family once per month, which she found agonizing and unfair.25 All respondents indicated that prison regulations in Senegal allowed for family visits twice per week for approximately twenty minutes, but that they wished for longer visiting times or at least to be allowed to attend loved ones’ funerals. Pape, a 50-year-old married man, was serving a ten-year sentence at the prison in Saint-Louis for murder. He said that he wished he could have attended the funeral of his mother, and that of his older sister who died one day before our meeting.26 I also looked at incarceration’s effects on marriage. The data shows that women’s marriages seemed to be more affected by imprisonment than men’s. Most of the married female respondents have four strikes against them: they are women, mothers, wives, and prisoners, making womanhood, motherhood, and marriage nothing or empty of meaning, as they told me. Prison destroys married life, as many respondents, and in particular, married women pointed out. Seven of the twelve married respondents were women. Of the seven women, three had been divorced or repudiated by their husbands after their incarceration, and one was going through a divorce. Astou, a 20-year-old woman serving a twelve-year sentence for the murder of her co-wife (or sister-wife), stated that her husband, who lived in Europe, divorced her after her arrest. In



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her words, her husband could have waited until the end of her sentence before divorcing her.27 She anticipated the divorce, but not the timing, claiming that it added more to the pain. When I talked to her in 2013, she was five years into her twelve-year sentence, and her father had never visited her. She sadly stated that killing her co-wife was the biggest mistake of her life because she lost the two men she dearly loved. There were five men among the married respondents, but only one man’s marriage was affected by imprisonment. A former teacher and band manager charged with drug trafficking and sentenced to ten years at the camp pénal de Liberté VI, the 60-year-old man said one of his wives filed for divorce after his incarceration. He claimed the divorce hit him harder after learning that his ex-wife emigrated to Europe, cutting all ties with him even though they had three children together.28 The stigma associated with imprisonment in Senegal added to the suffering of the prisoners, causing more disruptions among family systems and making a return to everyday life after prison seem even more difficult. Today, despite a certain acceptance of prisons in Senegal, prisoners and ex-prisoners continue to be stigmatized, generating “spoiled identities,” to coin Erving Goffman. In his seminal work, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, Goffman discussed the “permanently discredited,” namely individuals who are “reduced in our minds from a whole and usual person to a tainted and discounted one.”29 He explained that stigma crippled the prostitutes, the blind, the ethnic, the homosexuals, the Jews, the addict, and of course, the ex-convict. As they reflected on the stigma they might face after their release and the extent to which it might expose to more challenges, some respondents said they do not have post-release plans, and others claimed they would go back to their old jobs. A few of the study participants revealed they would search for jobs in the trades they had learned in prison, such as carpentry, masonry, sewing, knitting, or painting. These trades were offered in almost all the prisons I visited, and efforts were made to engage prisoners in activities, such as playing soccer, wrestling, watching TV, reading, and playing chess and cards, and other similar games. I also found that incarceration took a heavy toll on the lives of the prisoners’ children, making parenting behind bars a challenge for most of the mothers and fathers I interviewed. Family support seems to lessen the damage to children because relatives on the outside helped to raise the children. However, the effects on the children are real. For example, Awa said her sister is helping raise her kids.30 The same was true for Chileno, a 40-year-old female prisoner from Nigeria, who was serving four months at the prison in SaintLouis for prostitution. Chileno indicated that her sister was taking care of two children, a boy and a girl.31 In Senegal, children can stay in prisons with mothers if they are under the age of three. None of the female respondents had a child living with her in prison.

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Prisoners and staffers had similar impressions of prisons. Being in prison is not a choice, and thus for most of the respondents, both prisoners and staffers, “prison” is not merely a word. A combination of emotions and hard realities effectively unmasked how they perceived prisons and their words were not hollow. The respondents described their preincarceration or preemployment views of prisons in various ways: “terrible,” “shame,” “a bad place,” “prison is for criminals,” “a place for hardened criminals,” “prison is not an interesting place to work,” and so on. These views were based on long-held beliefs in Senegal that prisons are shameful and damaging. Except for two staffers who switched to prison jobs after serving in the police and the army, most of the prison staffers claimed that working in a prison was not their first choice. However, most of the respondents claimed their views of prisons dramatically changed when they walked into a prison for the first time. The prison transitioned from a cursed place to a “school of life where you learn a lot,” in the words of Moussa, a 26-year-old male guard at the Saint-Louis prison.32 Nafi, fifty-seven years old, indicated she started to see prisons differently the moment she began her position as a social worker at the camp pénal de Liberté VI.33 Another interesting perspective came from Seydina, a male prisoner at the camp penal de Liberté VI. A bank teller at the time of his arrest, Seydina was serving five years on a conviction of misuse of public funds. He said he never thought he would go to prison, claiming he always believed that prisons were for criminals. However, after his incarceration, he realized there “were innocent, pious, and honest people in prison.”34 Mouhamadou, a 49-year-old man sentenced to one year at the prison in Saint-Louis, made another interesting statement: “in general, people talked about prison only when they have loved ones in there, but once you discovered the prison, you see there is much humanity in there.”35 Almost all the prisoners and staffers I talked to seemed to experience the humanity that Mouhamadou stressed. They analogized their relationships with inmates and staffers to families: “we are like brothers and sisters,” “they treat us like families,” “we support and advise each other,” “we entertain very good relations with each other,” and “we are a big supporting family.” Indeed, Gresham Sykes and Sheldon Messinger argued that as inmates showed solidarity, the pains of imprisonment are lessened.36 They went on to say that “almost all inmates have an interest in maintaining cohesive behavior on the parts of others, regardless of the roles they play themselves.”37 Not all respondents shared this impression of a strong family-like atmosphere. Describing her detention conditions not as poor, but as horrible, Zuma said that the staff of the South African embassy were her only support. Moreover, not speaking Wolof or French turned her incarceration into a bigger nightmare. Therefore, she was delighted to chat with me in English.38 The respondents particularly emphasized the prison infrastructure and the problems it created. The respondents noticed that the quality of the prison



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buildings had detrimental effects on their health; this was another point of agreement between prisoners and staffers. When asked to describe the facilities, they did not mince words: “old,” “dilapidated,” “crumbling,” “collapsing,” “unsafe when it rains,” “can’t sleep soundly here,” “hot and unventilated,” “small rooms,” “overcrowded rooms,” and “collapsing and leaking ceilings and roofs.” Prisoners and staffers deemed their working and living conditions very unsafe and insecure at all the prisons I visited, except at the MAF de Liberté VI, a prison designated for female offenders awaiting trial. The five respondents I talked to there all claimed the prison buildings were safe. Their responses are not uncommon because the Code of Penal Procedure in Senegal stipulates that offenders be treated well while awaiting trial. The best perspective about the state of prison buildings came from Nafi, the social worker at the camp penal de Liberté VI. She said that most prison facilities were “colonial buildings,”39 suggesting that the old age and inadequacies of the prison buildings that Senegal inherited are still noticeable today. Surprisingly, all the prisoners claimed they would never attempt to escape although they acknowledged there are many possibilities to do so. For example, Codou, a female inmate at the prison in Saint-Louis, said, “We discussed ways to escape, but just to skill the stress.”40 At the same prison, Chileno, the Nigerian, when asked if she ever thought about escaping, said: “Where should I go? I am not from Senegal.”41 Souleymane, a male inmate at the Thiès prison, admitted that his “father had advised him not to escape even though the walls of the prison collapse.”42 Madeleine, a female prisoner at the same institution, said, “I am from Senegal, and I intend to live with my family after my release.”43 These inmates brushed aside the idea of escaping, claiming they accepted their imprisonment and had no other alternative than to serve their time. When asked to rate their detention conditions including sleeping conditions, diet, access to healthcare, and prison rules, on a scale from with 1 for poor to 5 for excellent, the prisoners were split in their answers. One-half of inmates rated their conditions as poor, and the other one-half rated conditions as acceptable, but with reservations such as: “acceptable, but people are sentenced unfairly for no reason,”44 “acceptable, but sometimes we club together to buy more ingredients improve the quality of the food.”45 Other responses included: “acceptable because we are awaiting trial,”46 and “acceptable, but solidarity among inmates makes life bearable.”47 Staffers were asked to assess the impact of the architecture of prisons on the quality and performance of their jobs. They all claimed the inadequacies of prison facilities posed real challenges in the surveillance and discipline of prisoners. As was true during the colonial period, overcrowded prisons prevented a sound grouping of prisoners based on age, crime, and length of sentence, thus making the surveillance and management of prisons quite challenging for staffers (an

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example is the 2016 riot at the Rebeuss prison discussed in the introduction). For instance, at the penal camp de Liberté VI, guards and prisoners said some rooms contained more than eighty people who shared one toilet in prison with a faulty electric, water, and sewage system, thus depriving inmates of basic hygiene necessities. When asked the question: “If you could change anything about the ways Senegalese prison are managed, what would it be?” both prisoners and staffers called for better detention conditions, including improving the quality of the food, supplying prisoners with bedding, and giving better access to health care. They also pushed for shorter sentences for some small offenses and speeding up the legal procedure to avoid long pretrial detention. An interesting perspective came from Mohamed. Serving a ten-year sentence on a charge of rape, Mohamed, a 42-year-old man, urged prison officials “to emphasize correction, not discipline to turn the prisoner into a productive citizen.”48 Finally, when asked the question, “If you could change anything about the ways Senegalese prisons are designed and constructed, what it would be?” prisoners and staffers became architects. They envisioned their ideal prisons: “new and spacious prisons with larger and aerated rooms equipped”49 with “functioning toilets, dining rooms, showers, and beds instead of sleeping mats on the floor,”50 and no “wooden ceilings or roofs,”51 to prevent leaks during the rainy season. Also, some respondents said their ideal prisons should be “equipped with sports facilities to keep prisoners active and fit.”52 Aïcha, a 36-year-old prison guard at the MAF de Rufisque, suggested that “prison directors and guards should live nearby, so they can intervene quickly if an incident happens.”53 Médoune and Abdou, two male prisoners who were incarcerated at the camp pénal de Liberté VI and were serving, respectively, twenty years for murder and ten years for rape, had some interesting suggestions as well. They both believed that the Senegalese government “should build bigger prisons like European and American prisons”54 or “modern prisons like those seen on TV with 2 or 4 inmates per cell.”55 Seydina, a male inmate who was serving five years at the same institution for misuse of public funds, went further, envisioning the ideal prison as “a three- or four-story prison building.”56 Are these conceptions of ideal prisons in Senegal just a fantasy? Alternatively, do these prisoners have a point? These interesting questions require further surveys of prison detentions from a larger sample of prisoners. The long sentences these men were serving and the dilapidated state of the camp pénal de Liberté VI, one of the last prisons built by the French, in the mid-1940s in Senegal, fed their visions of what a prison should be or look like. These prisoners became prison building advocates, not by choice, but because of their terrible detention conditions. After visiting five prisons and talking to prisoners and staffers in 2013, it did not come as a surprise when I heard and read that inmates at the Rebeuss



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prison rioted on September 20, 2016, and asked for a new prison, and the government surprisingly announced the construction of two new prisons for the first time in fifty-seven years after independence. I realized that the seeds of the Rebeuss riot were also present in the prisons I visited because the informants, both prisoners and staffers, emphasized the same problems, including overcrowding, dilapidated prison buildings, and long pretrial detention that triggered the riot. NOTES 1.  Gresham M. Sykes, Society of Captives: Study of a Maximum-Security Prison (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), xxxvii (first published in 1958). 2.  Donald Clemmer, The Prison Community (New York: Rinehart: 1958). 3.  Ibid., 299. The theories of importation and deprivation compete to find the determinants of prisonization. The importation model argues that adaptations to prison life is mostly influenced by the life experiences of the inmates prior to incarceration. On the importation model, see John Irwin, The Felon (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970); from the same author, The Jail: Managing the Underclass in American Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). In contrast, the adaptation model supports the idea that the deprivations and degradations that inmates are subjected in prisons influenced the ways in which they adjust to prison life. On the deprivation model, see Sykes, The Society of Captives. On the difference between the two models, see, Charles W. Thomas, “Theoretical Perspectives on Prisonization: A Comparison of the Importation and Deprivation Models,” The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 68, no. 1 (1977): 135–45. 4.  The studies below have looked at prison life and experiences from the viewpoints of both inmates and prison officials and have drawn similar or divergent conclusions on the relations between the two groups and how they impacted the operations of prisons. See Irwin, The Felon; John Dilulio, Governing Prisons (New York: Free Press, 1987); Clemmer, The Prison Community; Sykes, The Society of Captives; Hans Toch, Living in Prison: The Ecological Survival (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1992). 5. Toch, Living in Prison. 6. Clemmer, The Prison Community. 7. Sykes, The Society of Captives. 8.  John Slosar, Prisonization, Friendship, and Leadership (Lexington, MA: Lexington Brooks, D.C. Heath Co., 1978), 7. 9. Sykes, The Society of Captives. 10.  Ibid., xxx. 11.  Ibid., 63. 12.  Ibid., 63. 13. Toch, Living in Prison, 21–22. 14. Sykes, The Society of Captives, 63.

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15.  See Irwin, The Felon; Sykes, The Society of Captives. 16. Sykes, The Society of Captives, 47. 17.  Ibid., 49. 18.  Ibid., 40. 19. Dilulio, Governing Prisons, 6. 20.  Kenneth Adams, “Adjusting to Prison Life,” Crime and Justice 16 (1992): 312. 21.  Ibid., 315. 22.  Interview with Coumba, Thiès, July 24, 2013. 23.  Interview with Codou, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 24.  Interview with Aïssatou, Dakar, July 1, 2013. 25.  Interview with Zuma, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 26.  Interview with Pape, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 27.  Interview with Astou, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 28.  Interview with Babacar, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 29.  Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1963). 30.  Interview with Awa, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 31.  Interview with Chileno, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 32.  Interview with Moussa, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 33.  Interview with Nafi, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 34.  Interview with Seydina, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 35.  Interview with Mouhamadou, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 36.  Gresham M. Sykes and Sheldon L. Messinger, “The Inmate Social System,” in Theoretical Studies in Social Organization of the Prison, ed. Richard A. Cloward et al. (New York: Social Sciences Research Council, 1960), 16. 37.  Ibid., 18. 38.  Interview with Zuma, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 39.  Interview with Nafi, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 40.  Interview with Codou, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 41.  Interview with Chileno, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 42.  Interview with Souleymane, Thiès, July 24, 2013. 43.  Interview with Madeleine, Thiès, July 24, 2013. 44.  Interview with Mohamed, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 45.  Interview with Souleymane, Thiès, July 24, 2013. 46.  Interview with Ndèye, Dakar, July 1, 2013. 47.  Interview with Chileno, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 48.  Interview with Mohamed, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 49.  Interview with Baydalaye, Thiès, July 24, 2013. 50.  Interview with Zuma, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 51.  Interview with Seynabou, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 52.  Interview with Cheikh, Saint-Louis, August 1, 2013. 53.  Interview with Aïcha, Rufisque, July 29, 2013. 54.  Interview with Médoune, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 55.  Interview with Abdou, Dakar, June 27, 2013. 56.  Interview with Seydina, Dakar, June 27, 2013.

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GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS Bulletin Officiel du Sénégal, 1827, 1838, 1841. Journal Officiel de l’Afrique Occidentale Française, 1929. Journal Officiel du Sénégal, 1929, 1932, 1972.

NEWSPAPERS Paris-Dakar. Le Matin. Le Populaire. Le Soleil. Le Témoin L’Info. Nouvel Horizon. Walf Fadjri.

INTERVIEWS Amsatou, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Codou, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Chileno, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Pape, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Cheikh, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Mouhamadou, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Issa, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Moussa, August 1, 2013, Saint-Louis. Mohamed, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Babacar, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Médoune, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Moustapha, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Seydina, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Abdou, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Nafi, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Abdoulaye, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Jane, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Seynabou, July 29, 2013, Rufisque.

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Ndela, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Zuma, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Sadiya, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Germaine, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Aicha, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Aminata, July 29, 2013, Rufisque. Ibrahima, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Baydalaye, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Madeleine, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Coumba, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Souleymane, July 24, 2013, Thiès. El Hadji, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Marième, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Lamine, July 24, 2013, Thiès. Adja, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Khady, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Ndeye, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Aby, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Aissatou, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Fatoumata, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Amy, June 27, 2013, Dakar. Fatou, June 27, 2013, Dakar.

Bibliography

Index

ANS (Archives Nationales du Sénégal), 17 architects, 12, 14, 140, 148, 158–59, 160–61, 165, 310 architecture of recycling, 6, 16 ateliers, 145, 202 Atlantic Ocean, 4, 89, 94, 148, 188, 263 bagne, 2–3, 34, 35–36, 41, 54, 58, 69n10, 70n48, 90, 105, 123, 132, 199 Bambey, 85, 86, 109, 203, 207–10 barracks, 15, 56, 125, 154, 162, 166, 180 Baudin, Auguste (governor), 56–57 begging, 55, 59, 65, 88, 89, 241, 271, 272 Bernault, Florence, 7–8, 44, 47, 83–84, 193–95 bonne conduit (“good behavior”), 197, 198 Boüet, Mrs., 129, 131 brutes, 194, 197 building materials, 19, 79, 157, 165–68, 180 Carabane, Professional School of, 86, 109, 208–209 Carcassonne, Colonial Inspector, 103, 110, 179, 180, 184, 187–88, 202

Carde, Governor-general, 105–107, 108 Catholic Mission at Thiès, 6, 125 Circumscription of Dakar and Dependencies, 86, 93–94, 96, 146, 185 Civil Council of Saint-Louis, 38, 43 colonialism, 7–9, 14, 17, 43, 59, 87, 124, 196, 220, 266, 269 commandants de cercles (district administrators), 50, 185–86, 198 communication, 20, 133, 169, 175–76, 177–82, 183, 189, 209–10, 218 concierge (de la prison), 41, 131, 177 confinement, 6, 10–11, 35, 83–84, 91–92, 146, 151, 154, 156, 158, 162, 168, 178, 188, 193, 251n10, 260, 282, 284–85 contraventions, 49, 60, 272, 295n57 convicts, 7, 56, 69n10, 90, 91–92, 102, 109, 111, 154, 199, 223, 225, 241– 42, 246, 248, 266, 283 corporal punishment, 44, 48, 198, 210 corvées, 75n152, 106–107, 177, 201– 202, 224 council of justice, 38–39 counsels of tutelage, 56, 205 Cournarie, Pierre (Governor-general), 96, 203 Coutumier Juridique, 47, 52, 71n69

337

338

Index

criminal cases, 38–39, 49–50, 66, 67, 140 criminality, 12, 38, 45, 50, 67, 87–88, 97, 111, 194, 200–201, 204–206, 210, 218, 266, 270, 274, 276 criminalization, 2, 59 customary laws, 49–52, 68, 71n69 Dakar prison, 6, 61, 86, 96, 97, 101, 103, 110, 127, 137, 138, 146, 147–49, 157, 159–60, 163, 166–68, 178–79, 183–85, 187–88, 200, 203, 226–28, 262–63, 281, 290 DAP. See Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiare délits, 79, 272, 295n57 designers, 14, 20, 148–49, 157–58 designs, 5, 9, 11–12, 17, 124, 128–57, 157–69, 180, 182–84, 192 detention conditions, 1–3, 6, 9, 17, 21, 33, 104, 186, 188–89, 191, 219, 235, 237, 240, 249, 264, 279, 282, 284–85, 301, 308–10 deterrence, 124, 169n2, 288 deviance, 65, 88–89, 208–10 Dia, Mamadou, 267 diagan, 264–65, 293n9 Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiare (DAP), 18, 279, 334–35 discipline, 8–9, 11–12, 15, 20–21, 33, 35, 62, 82, 96, 105, 123–25, 140–41, 144, 175–215, 219, 224, 264, 278, 309–10 drawings, 17, 128–29, 132, 168, 180 escapes. See prison breaks façades, 135, 148–49, 158, 166 Faidherbe, Louis Léon César (Governor), 37, 48, 57, 59, 85, 137 fléaux sociaux, 64, 89, 271, 273 forçat (forced-labor prisoners), 106, 188, 197, 199–200 forced labor, 59–60, 63–64, 85, 91, 100, 105–107, 110–11, 162, 200, 224, 282

Foucault, Michel, 5, 11–12, 21, 27n74, 35, 84, 141, 181, 189–90, 193, 195, 219, 263 Four Communes, 40, 70n40, 236–37, 239 France, 5, 7–8, 10–12, 17, 20, 34–44, 49–50, 62, 65, 81–82, 87–91, 93, 100, 123, 125–26, 137, 140, 148, 157, 159, 240, 243, 259–60, 276, 278, 291 French citizenship, 237–39, 250n2 French West Africa (FWA), 34–35, 49–50, 52, 61, 64, 66, 71n69, 86–87, 91–93, 96, 102–103, 105–107, 146, 158–60, 167, 184, 187, 192–94, 201, 203, 209, 230–31, 234, 238–39, 246, 279 gardes de cercles, 231–33 géole of Gorée, 39, 90, 123, 125 Gothic architecture, 148 health policies, 6, 65, 80, 98–100, 104 horse stalls, 5, 126, 164 house of arrest, 58, 123, 132, 188 house of arrest and correction, 90 house of correction, 284 hygiene, 39, 81, 99–100, 102, 145, 158, 160, 200, 202–204, 279, 310 imprisonment, 4–13, 16–20, 22, 34–35, 39–40, 42–44, 49–50, 53–61, 63, 65–68, 79–80, 83, 85, 87–88, 91–93, 102, 106–107, 109, 111, 123–24, 128–29, 132–35, 140, 149, 151, 157, 159, 162, 168, 175, 182, 184, 186, 188–92, 194–95, 199–200, 202, 209, 217–55, 259, 261, 263–65, 265–77, 281, 287–88, 291–92, 301–309 incapacitation, 124, 169n2, 288 incarceration. See confinement Indigénat, 19, 35, 60–61, 66–68, 75n152, 85, 106, 186, 279 infrastructure. See prison buildings inmates. See prisoners



Index 339

Ino, 290–91 interdiction de séjour, 66, 88 interviews, 18, 222, 290, 301–304 irréductibles, 154 isolation, 19, 43, 79, 81, 87–97, 111, 125, 142, 148, 157, 178, 193, 203, 205–209, 262, 265 juge d’instruction, 135 juvenile delinquency, 205–207, 209, 287 kajaang, 264 Kédougou prison, 127, 163, 267–69 Koutal penal camp, 110, 166, 284–85, 290 Lassalle-Séré, Colonial Inspector, 92, 181, 185, 188, 246 layouts, 140, 152, 154, 160–61, 176, 178, 183–84, 192–93, 229, 260 laziness, 105–106, 176, 200–201 legacy of colonial prisons, 12, 21, 259–99 legal system, 18, 36, 38–43, 44, 46–47, 49, 52, 268, 272, 288 Léopold Sédar Senghor, 267 Liberté VI (camp penal de), 18, 29n126, 281–83, 285, 290, 301, 306–10 lits de camps (camp beds), 144 Louga penal camp. See penal camps MAC. See Maison d’ârret et correction MAF. See Maison d’ârret des femmes Maison d’ârret et de correction (MAC), 1, 18, 22n2, 29n125, 263, 285, 290, 301, 306 Maison d’ârret des femmes (MAF), 18, 29n126, 301, 306, 309, 310 makeover, 21, 259–99 Manche (procureur du roi), 39, 123 Maquard, Eugene, 231, 245–46 Médina, African village of, 93–94, 96, 100–103, 127, 148, 149, 160 Merlhe, Commandant, 231–33

migrants, 64–65, 96, 146, 270 Monguillot, Colonial Inspector, 33–35, 86, 106–109, 161–62, 181, 184–85, 191–92, 198, 201, 226, 230, 234 Moretti, Colonial Inspector, 34, 92, 180, 184, 192, 199 Moutet, Marius (Colonial Minister), 34–35, 191 mutiny. See prison riots Ndande penal camp, 108–109, 199, 221, 234, 242–44, 246–48 Ndougousine, 262 normalcy, 219, 244–50 offenders, 6, 29n126, 33, 40–41, 43–47, 53, 56–57, 60, 64, 72n73, 85–87, 91, 108–109, 124–25, 131–32, 134, 146, 183, 185–88, 190, 192, 194, 196, 205–10, 223, 265–66, 270, 281, 283, 285–89, 303, 309 Originaires, 187, 236–41, 244, 249–50 paketasse, 264–65 panopticon, 11, 41, 193 Paris, 35, 38, 55–56, 58, 62, 89, 100, 158, 179, 181, 184, 209 Peanut Basin, 37, 64, 85, 109, 207 penal camps, 5–7, 10, 19, 34, 36, 86, 105–11, 127, 154, 157, 161, 166, 168, 176–77, 180–81, 189, 196–200, 224–25, 233–34, 241–43, 247–49, 283, 290 penitentiary schools, 7, 56, 93, 168, 176, 186, 196, 204–206, 208–10 plans, 12, 17, 39, 99, 101, 128, 132, 140, 143, 152, 157–59, 161, 163, 168, 180, 301, 307 prestation, 75n152, 107, 110–11, 119n159 Prison Act (1841), 41–42, 105, 131, 135, 177, 185, 201 prison: adages, 261, 263–64; breaks, 86, 166, 183, 222, 224, 226–27, 229, 290; builders, 20, 165, 167;

340

Index

buildings, 6, 12–13, 17, 20, 87, 123–73, 177–78, 183, 186, 193, 230, 259, 261, 267, 282, 301, 309, 311; designs, 9, 11, 17, 19–20, 128, 132, 158–61, 168; guards, 62, 90, 94, 130, 138, 231–33, 247, 277, 280, 285–86, 290–91; life, 2, 12, 18, 160, 176–77, 181–83, 186–88, 193, 219, 222, 245–46, 249, 263–64, 288, 302, 304–305, 311n3; location, 19, 79–119; populations, 60–61, 97, 125 128, 133, 196, 222, 241, 261, 265– 67, 275, 276, 284–85; reform, 21, 34, 146, 165–66, 176, 185, 196, 203, 278–93; riots, 1, 3, 22, 292, 311 quarters, 6, 100, 131–33, 140, 151–52, 160, 164, 179, 184–87, 189, 203, 209, 226, 231, 281, 289 racial segregation, 97, 99, 111, 140, 158, 160, 168, 187, 237 Ravel, Colonial Inspector, 34 recidivists, 92, 109, 154, 188, 197, 210, 225, 229–30, 248, 286, 303 réclusionaires, 154, 197 reformation, 20, 86, 145, 192–94, 196, 198, 205–206, 208–210 régisseur, 135, 138–39, 146, 148, 163, 167, 217, 237, 240, 278 relégues, 154, 188, 197 repression, 5, 9, 20, 43, 50, 57, 60, 68, 123–73, 176, 191, 261, 264, 268–69, 272–77 retribution, 124, 169n2, 288 Rufisque women’s prison, 6, 18, 29n125, 37, 64, 86, 96, 149–52, 150, 151, 277, 280–82, 301, 303, 306, 310 Saint-Louis (prison), 19, 36–43, 53–59, 63–64, 84–85, 88–92, 96, 98–101,

105, 108, 123, 125, 127, 132, 133, 134, 136, 139, 146, 148, 167, 178– 79, 184–85, 187–89, 199, 201–202, 205, 209, 217, 225–26, 229–30, 235, 237–41, 244–45, 247–50, 259, 278, 301, 303, 306–309 Schmaltz, Julien (Governor), 38–39, 53 Sébikhotane, 283, 289 segregation. See racial segregation Senegal River, 36–37, 61–62, 85, 88–90, 99, 126, 133, 188, 221, 275 Sine-Saloum (cercle of), 34, 164, 200, 229, 239 slaves, 37, 53–59, 63, 105, 131, 199, 201, 205, 217, 220 smuggling, 57–59, 64, 179 stigma, 195, 261, 265, 305, 307 suicides, 21, 221 Tirailleurs Sénégalais, 37, 94, 140, 232–33 Transcendental Meditation Program, 285–86 tribunal de première instance, 39, 42, 50 typology of prisons, 13, 16, 20, 124–28, 157, 168 vagabondage, 55, 59, 88–89 vagrancy, 59, 64–65, 88, 271–72 Villeneuve, Colonial Inspector, 127, 164, 189 wardens, 141, 185, 197, 231–33, 246– 47, 278–79, 281, 290 wards. See quarters workrooms, 142, 145, 150, 179 Yaadikoon, 222, 227–28 youndo, 264–65, 293n10 younko. See youndo

About the Author

Dior Konaté received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2006 and joined the Department of Social Sciences at South Carolina State University. She specializes in African history focusing on Senegal and West Africa. She teaches courses in African and world history, including an African women’s history class and the African diaspora. Her research interests include colonial and post-colonial prisons, criminality in colonial Senegal, capital punishment, female juvenile delinquency, women and prisons, and women and politics in Africa. She has published numerous articles in referred journals, encyclopedias, and edited books.

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