During the Middle Ages, Brussels possessed three prisons. The Treurenberg served as the state prison. The Vrunte ("friend") for "vrundt" had no fixed premises until 1521 when a building located opposite the cloth hall was acquired for use as a prison. Built in 1522, the Amigo remained as a place of incarceration until 1930. The Steenporte was the third prison in the city. It was falling into ruins by 1759. Authorities closed it and prisoners were moved to the porte de Hal. A major 19th-century prison was located on the site of the convent of the Petits Carmes on rue des Petits Carmes.
   The prison at Saint-Gilles is the major facility in greater Brussels today. Constructed between 1878 and 1884, the castlelike structure was originally designed to harbor 620 inmates. It houses male prisoners. Female felons are detained in the prison at Forest, which also holds men.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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