Entre el espectáculo y el escarmiento: el presidio ambulante en Chile (1836-1847)

  • Marco Antonio León León Universidad del Bío-Bío (Chile)


This article studies the institutional and human development of the "Presidio Ambulante", a form of mobile prisons created at te suggestion of Minister Diego Portales in 1836. After summarising the state of the Chilean prison system from the end of the Colonial Period, the study covers the origins of the "Presidio", its legal structure, the critical opinions issued at the time, and the disadvantages of guards and convicts living together, which on more than one occasion led to joint plans of escapes and rebellions. The author considers that the "Presidio Ambulante" as a punitive experience is a transition between the outmoded view of punishment as a public spectable and the 19th century ideáis of rehabilitation, which materialized in Chile in 1843 with the creation of the Santiago Penitentiary.