FRANCE: Gone to Hell

For the first time in a century, there were no prisoners last week in Cayenne Penal Colony, the equatorial prison long known as "Devil's Island." The last 58 beaten, broken convicts were transferred from the South American swamps to a Paris jail, and with that France brought to an end a prison more infamous than any crime it had ever punished. From the day it was founded in 1854, some 70,000 Frenchmen were sent out to its noisome stockades in expiation of crimes ranging from robbery to murder and high treason. Hardly more than 2,000 ever returned.

Reserved for political...

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