Frédéric-Auguste Demetz

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Frédéric-Auguste Demetz

Frédéric-Auguste Demetz (born May 12, 1796 in Paris ; † November 2, 1873 there ) was a French lawyer and philanthropist .


Demetz held various judicial posts until 1840 . Sent in 1835 by his government, accompanied by the architect Guillaume Abel Blouet (1795-1853) to study penal institutions in the United States of America , he convinced himself of the disadvantages of the Pennsylvanian isolation system for juvenile criminals, then visited the Belgium and the Netherlands Agricultural colonies for vagabonds and founded the agricultural and penal colony at Mettray near Tours with his friend Bretignière de Courteilles (d. 1854) based on the principle of moral reform. In order to create capable auxiliary staff, Demetz founded a “journeyman's school” in Mettray in 1839, enlisted the support of the judiciary and the administration and thus established a penal colony that, self- supporting , had an average population of 700 residents. Demetz's system gradually gained acceptance in France and other European countries, and the famous Irish adult penal system founded by Sir Walter Crofton has in some ways been modeled on that of Demetz. One of the most ardent proponents of this system in Germany was Karl Friedrich von Holtzendorff .


  • Projet d'établissement d'une maison de refuge pour les prévenus acquittés, à leur Demetz, Frédéric-Auguste . Paris 1836.
  • Lettre sur le système pénitentiaire à Messieurs les membres de conseil général de département de la Seine-suivie de la déliberation de conseil général de la Seine . Paris 1838.
  • Reports to M. le comte de Montalivet, pair de France, ministre secrétaire d'état au département de l'intérieur, sur les pénitenciers des Etats-Unis . Paris: Impr. Royale, 1837.
  • Résumé sur le system pénitentiaire . Paris: Impr. Royale, 1844