High security prison

Clairvaux Prison

Clairvaux Prison is a high-security prison in France, on the site of the former Clairvaux Abbey.

1971 revolt

In this prison in 1971, convicts Claude Buffet and Roger Bontemps took a nurse and a prison guard hostage, and Buffet subsequently murdered them. They were captured. Bontemps, whose defence counsels included Robert Badinter, contended that the murder was Buffet's idea, while Buffet affirmed that he now desired death. Both were sentenced to death by the "assises" court in June 1972 and were guillotined.

2006 manifesto

In January 16, 2006, several detainees serving life sentences in Clairvaux Prison, and having all spent from 6 to 28 years in prison, signed a manifesto denouncing a "false" abolition of death penalty, which they deem to have been transformed into a slow and continuous punishment. The convicts specifically denounce the French Republic which claimed, in accordance with the "advises of the European Council", that the "enforcing of prison sentences... has been conceived not only in order to protect society and assure the punishment of the convict, but also to favour his amendement and prepare his rehabilitation". They state that "In reality: everything is for the punishment" .


The famous terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (also known as Carlos the Jackal) is currently serving his life sentence here.


See also

  • Michel Foucault's criticism of the pseudo-rehabilitation ideal of the prison


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