The history of imprisonment in British colonial Mauritius is intertwined with its political economy, most especially the relationship between metropolitan government and plantation owners. Whether labour was predominantly enslaved, apprenticed or indentured, incarceration was part of a broader process through which the regulation of the colonial workforce was taken from the private to the public sphere and became associated with economic development. Nevertheless, prisoners both challenged and used prison regimes as vehicles for the improvement of their lives. Mauritian jails were intensely political arenas in which the changing nature of colonial relations and the regulation of labour was both expressed and contested. \u
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