With such jailers it is probably rather to their corruption than to any lack of strength in the buildings that we may attribute the occasional escape of the inmates, which appears to have been by no means an infrequent occurrence. Even those who were confined in chains sometimes effected their liberation. More sufficient, however, as a means of release from the horrors of these foul dungeons was the excessive mortality caused by their filthy and unventilated squalor. Occasionally, as we have seen, the unfortunate were unlucky enough to live through protracted confinement, and there is one case in which a woman was graciously discharged, with crosses, in view of her having been for thirty-three years in the prison of Toulouse. As a rule, however, we may conclude that the expectation of life was very short. No records remain, if any were kept, to show the average term of those condemned to lifelong penance ; but in the autos de fé there occur sentences pronounced upon prisoners who had died before their cases were ended, which show how large was the death-rate. These cases were despatched in batches. In the auto of 1310, at Toulouse, there are ten, who had died after confessing their heresy and before receiving sentence; in that of 1319 there are eight. The prison of Carcassonne seems to have been almost as deadly. In the auto of 1325 we find a lot of four similar cases, and in that of 1328 there are ^ve. It is only under these peculiar circumstances that we have any chance of guessing at the deaths which occurred in prison, and from these scattered indications we can assume that the insanitary condition of the jails worked its inevitable result without human interference.
Imprisonment was naturally the most frequent penance inflicted by the inquisitors. In Bernard Gui's Kegister of Sentences, comprising his operations between 1308 and 1322, there are six hundred and thirty-six condemnations recorded, which may be thus classified:
- Lib. Sententt. Inq. Tolos. pp. 8, 13, 14, 19, 25, 26, 29, 158-62, 246-8, 255-61.— Arch, de Tlnq. de Carcassonne (Boat, XXVII. 7, 131 ; XXVIH. 164).
canon to claim supervision over the imprisonment of William Outlaw, whom he threw into the Castle of Kilkenny on a charge of fautorship of sorcerers— there being, apparently, no episcopal jail. — Wright's Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler, Camden Soc. 1843, p. 31.