TURNHOUT, a town of Belgium, in the province of Antwerp, 26 m. N.E. of that city. Pop. (1904), 22,162. It carries on an active industry in cloth and other manufactures. There is a breeding establishment for leeches. The hotel de ville was formerly a palace of the dukes of Brabant. Two miles west of Turnhout is the curious penal or reformatory colony of Merxplas (pop. in 1904, 2827). The system of this establishment is to allow certain approved prisoners to follow their usual occupations within a defined area. The persons detained have complete liberty of movement, subject to the two conditions that they are under the supervision of guardians and are not allowed to cross the boundaries of the settlement. They also wear a distinct dress, and each prisoner bears a number.
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