1830s: Under public pressure, French legislators reformed prisons to some extent. They abolished some of the more barbaric forms of punishment that were practiced under the Ancien Regime, such as torture and hanging, and offered education for petty offenders. 1850s: As a result of unemployment caused by industrialization, crime rates rose in France and the prison population increased. Inmates were not allowed to speak to each other. Riots and suicides took place in prisons. Today: Due in part to poor economic conditions in France, prison populations are on the rise again, with an increase in the number of convicts serving time for drug related crimes. With a prison population that is steadily increasing, overcrowding is a problem, and many inmates find themselves sharing a cell with as many as five other prisoners.
1830s: France was beginning to become an industrialized nation, a process that would transform its economy, workplace, working class, and political landscape. 1850s: Increasing industrialization brought wealth to France as well as increased unemployment. Lack of work drove thousands of poor women to prostitution and many of the urban poor to crime. Today: After rapid consolidation of industries in the 1970s, many French manufacturing jobs were eliminated, resulting in high levels of unemployment. Currently, many young people have difficulty finding permanent work. However, recent changes in the French school system have expanded educational opportunities for students, in an effort by the government to create an employable workforce.
1830s: Antigovernment protesters set up barricades in Paris after Charles X published three ordinances calling to abolish freedom of the press, dissolve Parliament, and limit voting rights to 25,000 landed proprietors. The 1830 revolution successfully removed Charles from the throne; succeeding him was Louis Philippe. 1850s: A bloody protest occurred in Paris in 1848, removing Louis Philippe from power and creating a provisional government that extended the right to vote and set up national workshops to combat unemployment. After another violent clash, this government was in turn replaced by the Second Republic, with an assembly dominated by the middle class. Today: After violent student protests and nation-wide strikes in May of 1968, new French leaders shifted towards a more liberal form of government, trying to balance a market economy while preserving social-democratic principles. Today, France has joined with other European nations to create the European Union, a community which shares a common currency and has created a formidable trading bloc.