Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Linda Dailey Paulson
The Devil's Island prison complex was located in French Guiana off the Atlantic coast. It consisted of a three island cluster, the Iles du Salut (Islands of Salvation), plus some sections of mainland French Guiana. Its reputation as the world's toughest prison was such that it was sometimes called “The Island of No Return.” French Guiana was first used as a penal colony during the French Revolution. Napoleon III (1808–1873) eventually made the settlement permanent and the facility was in operation from 1852 and 1953. Devil's Island itself, known as “Ile du Diable” in French, was the most remote of the islands in the penal colony. Henri Charrière (1906–1973), a former convict, described the island as follows: “After a flat coastal area it rises rapidly to a high plateau where ...