História (São Paulo)
On-line version ISSN 1980-4369
TRINDADE, Cláudia Moraes. Beyond order: daily prison life in Nineteenth-Century Bahia according to prisoners' correspondence. História [online]. 2009, vol.28, n.2, pp. 377-420. ISSN 1980-4369. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-90742009000200013.
The aim of this article is to discuss the prison community in Bahia during the 19th century, using the correspondence written by prisoners. I analyze this documentation in an attempt to reconstruct the daily life of the prisoners, presupposing the existence of a parallel order equal to or more powerful than the official prison order, but that did not end the arbitrariness and the violence of the latter. This parallel order could be broken any moment, whether because of direct confrontation among the prisoners themselves, or due to confrontation between prisoners and prison staff. Among different types of protest, writing was widely used by prisoners and, depending on the strategy suggested in the letters, it was possible to obtain gains without breaking the prison order. Written appeals were used by prisoners, educated or not, of different legal conditions, slaves, freed and free, independent of the type of sentence they were serving.
Keywords : Prisoners; Penitentiary; Prison-workhouse; Bahia-History 19th Century.