The daunting challenge of obtaining sufficient labor for their colonial enterprise in Senegal led the French to implement a system of travail forcé or forced labor. Its violence and the sustained resistance of the colonized populations plagued the system from the very beginning, and ended by affecting it very deeply by the late 1920s. What followed was a vast reorganization of the Senegalese prisons in 1927, aiming at a better use of penal labor. The outcome would be the institution of itinerant penal camps in 1936. They were established in the cercles (provinces) of Louga, Thiès, Diourbel, and eventually in Bignona. They were used until 1940 to supply much of the work force for road building and maintenance along the main transportation routes of the colony. Lacking any deterrent or rehabilitative objective, the penal camps epitomized the political and economic functions of colonial imprisonment.


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pp. 153-171
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