Mercy, together with piety and humanity, are taken into the Roman law because of the influence of Christianity and which led to rules that have their genesis in Roman law as canon 20 of the Orleans Council of 549 in the relation of treatment of prisoners. This traditional precept of the Church obliges the Archdeacon to visit the prisioners on Sundays in order to turn to them for mercy and guarantee certain needs in this case not only spiritual but also material. Moreover, this canon is based on a series of principles based on humanity, piety, benevolence and aequitas, introduced from the fourth century in Roman law; and in our paper, we analyze the traces that these left not only in the canon but also in modern penitentiary law. We could also observe, as the principle of humanity, which is perceived by Emperor Constantine's provisions in CTh. 9.3.1.pr = C.9.4.1 pr., or those of Honorio and Theodosius contained in C.1.4.9, leaves his faithful reflection in articles as art.6 of the L.O. 1/79, of 26 of September General Penitentiary Law and other supranational rules.


Keywords: mercy; humanity; treatment of prisioners.