Devil's Island, part of the French overseas department of French Guiana. It is one of the Safety Islands, located about 10 miles (16 km) off the Atlantic coast of South America. It was the site of a notorious French penal colony from 1852 to 1953. A sentence to Devil's Island or colonies on the neighboring islands was considered the equivalent of a death sentence, since prisoners often fell victim to yellow fever, malaria, and other tropical diseases before completing their sentences. The most famous prisoner on Devil's Island was Alfred Dreyfus. .)