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By Florence Bernault

Over the final 30 years, a considerable literature at the background of yank and eu prisons has constructed. This assortment is one of the first in English to build a background of prisons in Africa. subject matters contain precolonial punishments, dwelling stipulations in prisons and mining camps, ethnic mapping, modern refugee camps, and the political use of criminal from the period of the slave exchange to the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

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Extra resources for A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa

Sample text

The increasing diffusion of reclusive models over the continent continues to follo\\' an archaic model of conquest. BEYOND THE PRISON: SPACE, POWER, AND CONFINEMENT 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 multiple aspects of African life and physical space. As the conquest rested on a specific mode of goveming that combined the subjugation of physical territories with the control of human groups, colonial rulers sought to impose power relations that could be inscribed on the mastering of physical and social spaces.

Chap. I. ~- Thr nantcs in parentheses refer to the authors of the various chapters of this book. \\"hl're necessa~·. footnotes refer the reader to the original French edition of this book: F. Bemault. ed .. En_t(·nncmt·nr. prison ct chcitinrents l'11 Afrique du 19'-· siec/e t1 nos jours t Paris: Kanhala. 1999). 5. See the statistics published in the annual report of the Obse~atoire des prisons (Paris: L1lysse/Dystique. 1995). 6. As the collection does not cover the entire continent. the reader should take the book's pro,·isional condusions as working hypotheses.

Post-colonial regimes have also tried to renovate penal facilities. Yet. they have mostly done so by opening highly modern facilities that \vorsen. rather than improve the convicts' conditions of detention. In Pretoria (South Africa), the maximum security prison (also known as "SuperMax ·~) is equipped with all modern penal innovations relating to incarceration, and holds serial killers and white political prisoners. 140 In Ghana and the Ivory Coast. public rumor describes the ultramodem, maximum security prisons as horrific places, where wardens can exert unchecked, sometimes lethal, violence on detainees.

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