This article analyzes weekly visita de cárcel records from the Audiencia of Quito covering the years 1732–91. The first section considers the jail census as a manuscript form and performative practice. The second section identifies patterns in the visitas that document shifting carceral priorities during periods of political crisis and reform, increased detention of women, and the function of racial categories. These patterns suggest that Bourbon reformers used policing power as a form of social control while the visitas continued to operate as a performance of royal authority.

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