Carabanchel Prison was constructed by political prisoners after the Spanish Civil War between 1940 and 1944 in the Madrid’s neighbourhood of Carabanchel. It was one of the biggest prisons in Europe until its closure in 1998. The structure followed the panopticon model devised by Jeremy Bentham in 1785.
During General Francisco Franco’s regime (1936–1975) the prison hosted a large community of political prisoners, which included relevant members of democratic and leftist political parties and union leaders. Notable inmates included Marcelino Camacho (leader of the Communist clandestine union Comisiones Obreras) and the rest of top-rank members of it imprisoned as a result of the Process 1001, Julián Ariza (member also of the same union), Nicolás Redondo (leader of Workers’ General Union), Eduardo Saborido, Simón Sánchez Montero (Communist leader, who server 25 years in prison), José María Ruiz Gallardón (monarchist opponent to the dictatorship and father of the current Mayor of Madrid Alberto Ruiz Gallardón), Nicolás Sartorius, Ramón Tamames, Enrique Múgica and Enrique Curiel (Communist activists), Miguel Boyer (Socialist activist and a minister later), Fernando Sánchez-Dragó, Miguel Gila, Fernando Savater, Fernando Arrabal, CNT member Luís Andrés Edo and would-be Franco assassins Stuart Christie and Fernando Carballo Blanco. After Franco’s death, only common criminals and terrorists belonging to the Basque terrorist group ETA and other paramilitary groups remained.