Toulouse. Did you know ? There was, in the 19th century, another prison in the Saint-Michel district
By Toulouse editorial staff
Toulouse, at numbers 34 and 36 rue des Trente-Six Ponts. It is there, at the current location of the regional management of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE)what was happening the juvenile penitentiary. “We don’t have photos or plans of the buildings but a sketch of the building permit gives us an idea of the facade of the building: 17 meters long by 5 high” explains to Toulouse news Charles Marion, president of the association of residents of Saint-Michel prison and Busca.
A penitentiary for minors
The institution, located near the House of Justice, responds to the objective of the public authorities of the time: separate convicted children and adolescents from other detainees in overcrowded prisons. In 1861, it hosted up to 225 boys and 52 girls, defendants and contents confused.
Strict work and discipline
The initiator of the project, Father Barthier, Influential priest within the archdiocese, heir to an important land estate, proposes with his own money to develop, from 1839, on a plot of four hectares, a district with workshops assigned to young convicts under 16 years old, most often for pilfering or vagrancy, as well as young people who have been acquitted but whose parents no longer want them.
“For the youngest, the work consists of making rosaries. The older ones give trades. Boys can become shoemakers, carpenters, saddlers, locksmiths or tailors. They also do gardening work. They are employed in various houses as well as in an agricultural colony of Saint-Orens held by the abbot and his brother. And the laundress girls, cooks or seamstresses. When they leave, they continue their apprenticeship by joining a patronage society”.
The courses (spelling, history, geography, geometry, drawing) mowed down by the Brothers of the Christian Schools are reduced to the minimum portion: until 7 am after prayer and at the very end of the day, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
The rules of procedure are strict. Waking up at 5 a.m. (6 a.m. on Sundays), the boarders had to do their job in silence. If punishments (whipping, rods and rope) are prohibited, they can be deprived of food, visits, isolated in the dark or thrown into a cell in the event of a sanction.
A barracks then clothing workshops
Due to lack of sufficient financial means, the house was closed in 1869. Five years later, the place is rented by the town hall as barracks. Baptized Adoue then Pelet (from the name of a Toulouse general who served under Napoleon), it houses the 3e battalion and staff of the 83e infantry regiment until 1901, when the Niel barracks were completed.
Thereafter, the place is affected for the workshops of clothing and military supplies of Gendron and Co. then pour the Tricotages d’Ariège.
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