In 1963, a new women’s prison opened in the Trinitat Vella neighbourhood, run by nuns from the order known as the Evangelical Crusades of Christ King. Over the years, the inmates included, particularly, political prisoners arrested during the dying years of the Franco regime.
On 9 July 1963, the Trinitat women’s prison was opened; it was to hold the 263 inmates and 19 children from the prison in Les Corts – closed in 1955 – that had been temporarily transferred to the Model prison for eight years. The centre was run until 1978 by the Croades Evangèliques del Crist Rei (Christ the King Evangelical Crusades), a religious order created in 1937 to keep watch over common criminals and female Republican prisoners. The Franco regime’s initial goal was to redeem the prisoners of their sins but, with the reform of the National Prisons Service in 1956, the objective was to efface the prisoners’ ideology until they ceased believing in everything that had led to their incarceration.
The nuns in Trinitat prison, who followed a strongly fascist ideology, endeavoured to obliterate the prisoners’ ideas. Political prisoners were considered more dangerous than common prisoners since they thought for themselves and were more difficult to control. The nuns sought to make them lose their identity and to isolate them from the world by using psychological torture. In December 1975, following Franco’s death, 14 political prisoners in Trinitat jail declared a hunger strike to demand improvements in their situation and to highlight the discrimination they endured; however, few concessions were made for them. From that point and throughout 1976, the Barcelona Feminist Group convened demonstrations in front of the prison every Sunday to demand changes in the treatment of prisoners. Finally, in 1978, with the prison reform, the nuns were replaced with civil servants and the new prison regulations were implemented.
In 1983, the prison became a Penitentiary Centre for Young People intended for prisoners under 21 years of age. In January 2009, the demolition of much of the site began and a small-scale event took place to pay tribute to the women that had been imprisoned there during the Franco era.
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