Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

France

Justice minister announces measures to reduce prison suicides

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-18

As French prisons experience a rise in suicides, French Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has announced new preventive measures, including kits containing paper pyjamas to avoid hangings, and support for vulnerable inmates.

On Monday, an inmate at Baumettes prison in Marseille was found hanging in his cell, bringing the total number of French prison suicides so far this year to 75, according to official figures from the justice ministry. Several organisations put the figure at somewhere between 88 and 92.

A report from France’s prison service on the rise in deaths was submitted to the French Justice Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie on Tuesday.

Alliot-Marie announced new preventive measures after visiting a prison in the French city of Orleans later on Tuesday.

The measures include providing special kits for prisoners with paper pyjamas and bed linen that cannot be torn, to help prevent hangings, as well as extra support for prisoners identified as being in a particularly fragile state.

Official data shows that the number of suicides in French prisons rose from 96 in 2007 to 115 in 2008.

The report from the prison service proposed a new tackling the problem by ensuring that every prisoner is individually monitored and that contact is kept with the family.

Florence Aubenas, president of the International Observatory on Prisons, said the report would “not change much."

"The report offers suggestions, but people do whatever they please with the proposed guidelines,” Aubenas told French radio RTL last week.


"Buried" guidelines

Another set of guidelines on how to prevent suicides was published on June 15, drawn up by a commission headed by Dr Louis Albrand at the demand of former justice minister Rachida Dati.

Dr Albrand later criticized the government for toning down the document and then effectively “burying” it.

Dr Albrand announced the creation of an independent group of experts composed of former ministers, intellectuals and magistrates that will be looking into the matter. Their report is expected in October.

Speaking on Europe 1, France's secretary of state for justice, Jean-Marie Bockel, attributed many suicides to the “shock” of entering prison life, lamenting that France “had too many suicides and must do better”.

Specialists and unions blame the suicides on the overcrowding of prisons, a reason previously rejected by the justice ministry under Rachida Dati.

On August 1, French prisons had space for 52,741 inmates, while the actual number of prisoners was 62,420. A bill to reduce both the number of prisoners and the length of their sentences is currently going through the French Parliament.

Date created : 2009-08-18

COMMENT(S)