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Groupe d'Information sur les Prisons

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Established in 1970 by Michel Foucault in collaboration with Jean-Marie Domenach and Pierre Vidal-Naquet for the purpose of distributing information about conditions in French prisons. It was not primarily a prison-reform advocacy group, though of course its purpose in making known the terrible conditions in which prisoners were forced to live was to foster the call for change. Operating in the age before email and the Internet, the various members of the group gathered information by interviewing prisoners, their wives, and guards, and distributing the results of their research via samizdat pamphlets. The group attracted as members such luminaries as Gilles Deleuze, Jean Genet, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

Further Reading:

D. Macey The Lives of Michel Foucault (1993).

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