UNIVERSITY OF THESSALY - DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Gender and Religion in Early Modern Europe
Volos, 20-21 June 2008
In 1608 Mother Magdalena de San Jeronimo founded in Madrid The Galley, which was the first royal prison for women. Thanks to the protection of King Philip III, she created an independent institution for the internment of females, which was parallel to male prisons. Her purpose was to bring about a penitentiary system that would deal equally with men and women as far as punishment was concerned. In my opinion, however, her treatise On the Raison and Form of the Galley is the first precedent of exhaustive regulations for the imprisonment of so-called bad women, which discriminate women as transgressing both the penal laws and the social norms. With it, she had a long and notable influence on the laws pertaining the jurisdiction of females, since the honesty and dishonesty of women was seeing as depending more on community fame than on proof. Unfortunately her ideas have been consolidated in Christian female internment institutions and even in state prisons in many countries up to this day.