1902 Encyclopedia > Paris > Law and Justice

(Part 15)

Law and Justice

Paris is the seat of four courts having jurisdiction over all France; - (1) the Tribunal des Conflicts, for settling disputes between the judicial and administrative authorities on questions as to their respective jurisdiction; (2) the Council of State, for litigations between private persons and public departments; (3) the Cour des Comptes; and (4) the Cour de Cassation. The first three sit in the Palais Royal, the fourth in the Palais de Justice, which is also the seat of (1) a cour d’appel for seven departments (five civil chambers, one chamber of appeal for the correctional police, one chamber for preliminary proceedings), (2) a cour d’assises (members nominated for a term of three months); two sessions per month), (3) a tribunal of first instance for the department of Seine (seven civil chambers for civil affairs, sequetration of real estate, and sale of personal property; four chambers of correctional police), (4) a police court where each juge de paix presides in his turn assisted by a commissaire de police. Litigation between the departmental or municipal administrations and private persons are decided by the conseil de prefecture.

The prefect of police, charged with the maintenance of public safety, has the prison department under his supervision. There are eight prisons in paris – Mazas, La Sante, Ste Pelagie, St Lazare (for females), the depot (police station) of the prefecture of police, the Conciergerie or lock-up at the Palais de Justice, the Grande Roquette (for condemned criminals), and the Petite Roquette reformatory. In 1882 there passed through these prisons 108,231 prisoners (83,022 men, 25,209 women), the daily average being 5529. Out of the total number, 30,990 were kept in solitary confinement, and 2905 (males) worked in company by day and were placed in separate cells at night. the prisons also received 1067 young children who accompanied their mothers, and 732 children lost in the streets. The mendacity-station at Villers-Cotterets (Aisne) has besides a daily roll of 919 prisoners (male and female). In the so-called House of Repression at St. Denis are confined those mendicants who cannot be removed to Villers-Cotterets, or those discharged prisoners who have not acquired a sufficiency for their immediate necessities; 3240 persons passed through St Denis in 1882. The same year 46,457 persons were arrested in Paris, - 44,955 being taken flagrante delicto or arrested as vagabonds, 41,207 were brought before the judges. Of the whole number eight-ninths were males. Against five-ninths no previous charge had been made: 899 were ticket-of-leave men, 3291 were foreigners (959 Belgians, 759 Italians, 376 Swiss, 379 German, and 26 English). The most frequent causes of arrest were – vagabondism and begging; 16,985; theft in its various forms, 8604; rioting, 5619; assaults and acts of violence, 1338; offences against morals, 825; breach of certificate by ticket-of-leave men, 899; murders, assassinations, and assault by night, 330; drunkenness, 312.

The prefect of police has the control of the locating, discharging, or maintaining of the insane in the six public asylum of Ste Anne, La Salpetriete, Bicetre, Charenton, Vaucluse, and La Ville Evrard,- the last two situated in the department of Seine-et Oise. The financial and administrative management of these establishments is entrusted to the prefect of Seine. Sat the 1st of January 1882 there were in the different asylums 8260 lunatics, and during 1882 3670 were admitted, while 3938 left or died. Private asylums for the insane cannot be opened within his prefecture without the permission of the prefect of police. Children put out to nurse, and women wishing to be engaged as wet nurses, are also under his supervision. In 1881 18,527 infants were registered by their parents as requiring to be put to nurse in the various departments; on December 31, 1881, 4398 infants under three years of age were out at nurse within the prefecture; 07 died during the year. An institution of a reformatory character commended operations on January 1, 1881. in 1881 and 1882 it received 1644 children – 1131 brought by their parents, 262 by the magistrates, and 251 by the prefect of police. On December 1882 there remained 1330 children boarded out in the country. The expense for the two years was 18,160 pounds.

Establishments which are dangerous or unhealthy are of three classes, according as they have to be kept absolutely at a distance from dwelling- houses or simply subjected to certain precautions . They can be opened only with the permission and under the surveillance of the prefect of police. The first class comprises slaughter-houses, nightsoil reservoirs, vitriol works, &c. In 1882 there were of all the three classes 3049 establishments within the city of Paris; in 1881 there were 2922 in the suburban communes. The shops for mineral oils (3615) and those for mineral waters (1133) are also subject to inspection, and the groceries, drug-stores, and chemists’ shops in which medicines are sold (9224) are under the supervision of the upper school of pharmacy. Stea, machinery, (3317 machines, of 29,529 horse-power) which must be registered, is inspected by the engineers.

Eighty local committees- forty composed of men and forty of women- are entrusted with the duty of visiting the 12,316 workshops in which 27,402 children are employed (16,945 boys or girls between twelve and sixteen years of age, and 10,336 girls between sixteen and twenty-one, i.e. still minors). Street porters (commissionaires), rag-pickers, hawkers, and lodging-house keepers are under police surveillance. The bodies of the drowned or of those who have died in the streets are conveyed to the Morgue, where post-mortem examinations are performed at the command of the court, and lectures delivered on medical jurisprudence. The number of bodies is increasing (718 in 1878; 879 in 1882). Of this total 673 were adults (committed suicide, 219; killed by accident, 105; murdered, 45; died suddenly, 86). Drowning is the most frequent cause of death (321 cases). Of the 673 adults 588 were identified; the 85 unidentified were photograph before burial.

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