The Provincial Prison for women in Barcelona, the main female penitentiary along the First Francoism, was originally a Correccional General de Dones (General Correctional for Women) of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government, 1936-1939).
The demolition of the Presó Vella (Old Prison in Catalan, also known as Queen Amalia Prison), predecessor of Les Corts, started on the 21st of September 1936. It had been emptied out of its female residents during the revolutionary backlash that followed the attempted military coup in Barcelona.
AHCB-AF. Pérez de Rozas, Carlos. 006202. Obras de demolición de la Presó Vella de Barcelona. 29 de octubre de 1936.
Opening of the new General Correctional for Women
The revolutionary outbreak that crushed the attempted military coup was the main impulse behind the transfer of powers in terms of correctional services from the State to the Catalan Government. This was enacted by the Statute of Autonomy of 1932 and suspended later in the wake of the repression following the insurrection attempt of October 1934.
AHCB-AF. Pérez de Rozas, Carlos. 006202. Demolition works of Presó Vella in Barcelona. October 29th, 1936.
Imprisonment of Otília Castellví: the ‘antifascist’ prisoners
On 21 August 1937, the young Otília Castellví (Gijón, 1917), a member of the POUM) (Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification) entered Les Corts in the context of the punitive raids following the so called ‘May incidents’ of 1937.
Exterior view of Les Corts Prison building, garden and orchard
Execution of Carme Claramunt Barot
Throughout 1939 and 1940, 12 inmates from les Corts were executed (10 during the first year). The executions, by firing squad most of them, were carried out by the sandy areas in the “Campo de la Bota”, on the outskirts of Barcelona, after the women had paid the customary visit to the chapel at the Presó Model.
Archivo familiar. Carme Claramunt Barot, s/f. Cortesía de Emili Ferrando, Conxita Romeu y Joan Mercadé
The last execution
Two more prisoners from Les Corts were executed by fire squad in 1940, Assumpció Puigedelloses Vila, a 43-year-old from Vic, executed on March 27, and Inés Giménez Lumbreras, from Madrid, who was 25, executed on November 13.
AHCB-AF. Pérez de Rozas. Issue of Probation Orders in Les Corts
Escape of Adelaida Abarca and Ángela Ramis
314 women and 9 children were locked away in Les Corts on October 23, 1944. A little over a year later, according to the city census, the prison population did not exceed 224 women, watched over by 12 Sisters of Charity.
Angelita Ramis, Victoria Pujolar and Adelaida Abarca, Toulouse, 1946
Works and Sewing Workshops
Para comienzos de la década de los cincuenta, la población penal de Les Corts no pasaba de las doscientas mujeres, con cerca de una decena trabajando en la granja y el huerto bajo la supervisión y vigilancia de las monjas.