Fédération des Associations Réflexion-Action, Prison et Justice

English version

Présentation of the conference

After the publication of the reports « En finir avec la surpopulation carcérale » (Ending prison overcrowding) and « Rapport sur la mise en œuvre de la loi du 15 août 2014 relative à l’individualisation des peines et renforçant l’efficacité́ des sanctions pénales » (Report on the implementation of the law of 15 August 2014 on the individualisation of sentences and strengthening the effectiveness of criminal sanctions), FARAPEJ drafted a counter-report containing ten proposals.
More than two years after the publication of this counter-report, where are we now ?

The ten proposals of FARAPEJ were :

  1. Changing the method : setting up a multiannual action plan with a target figure for reducing the prison population.
  2. Developing the statistical tool of the Ministry of Justice to provide a better understanding of the state of prison overcrowding and the enforcement of sentences.
  3. Gradually establishing a mechanism to prevent prison overcrowding.
  4. Developing community sanctions : make full use of these criminal innovations.
  5. Limiting the use of pre-trial detention.
  6. Further developing measures to avoid the use of short and very short prison sentences.
  7. Making the gradual and accompanied release from prison the rule, not the exception.
  8. Engaging in a substantive debate on the scale and nature of sentences and the use of prison.
  9. Defining the capacity of prisons in accordance with European prison rules.
  10. In view of the alarming state of prison overcrowding, introducing emergency measures to mitigate its negative consequences on life in detention.

You can find the synthesis of the FARAPEJ counter-report by clicking here : Synthèse du contre-rapport sur la surpopulation

We believe that these ten proposals are still very relevant, which suggests that the situation has not changed since the publication of the FARAPEJ counter-report. The figures confirm this : as of 1 October 2019, 70,818 people were detained !

The conference proposed by FARAPEJ does not aim at yet another exchange on prison overcrowding. The situation is known and the finding is shared by all. This conference aims to seek short-term solutions to reduce the prison population and longer-term solutions to keep it at an acceptable level.

To this end, the conference will be structured around three themes :

  1. How to reform our penal and penitentiary system to eliminate prison overcrowding and prevent its return ;
  2. How to limit the use of imprisonment ;
  3. How to change prison life.

While the observation of prison overcrowding is known and shared, the phenomenon that leads to this situation remains unknown. The improvement of statistical tools should make it possible to set a target figure as a result of a debate, in particular on the concept of the capacity of penitentiary establishments, which should not be reduced to a number of places, and to set up a prevention tool. We also need to think about what happens before the decision to imprison someone is made. Decriminalizing certain offences and ensuring that others cannot lead to prison are avenues of reflection that have already been put forward but have been virtually ignored. Nor have the discussions on community sanctions been sufficiently developed. Nor have all initiatives to limit pre-trial detention to what is strictly necessary been followed by the expected success. Moreover, prison overcrowding does not allow for an effective review of prison life. In parallel with the reflection on the elimination of overcrowding, the day of detention must be redefined, so that it is more oriented towards the (re)socialization of detainees. The prison concept must take into account the notion of time and space.

Le projet RESCALED

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Assemblée générale FARAPEJ 2023

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