Macron Proposes Revising Criminal Justice System to Address Prison Overcrowding
French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a strategic plan to address France's nearly broken prison system.
“Prison sentences are not there to respond to society’s emotions,” Macron said in a Reuters article. “A convicted individual is meant to return to society.”
Macron said that prison can sometimes create “monsters” which can actually increase the recidivism rate.
Macron plans to reduce the number of inmates and utilize electronic devices to open space within the prisons.
He said the penal code will be changed to eliminate sentences which are less than 30 days. Also, sentences for up to 6 months will be served at home with the use of an electronic ankle bracelet. Drug users would be forced to fines instead of serving prison time.
"The alternative solutions give the impression that we do not really want to solve the prison problem because we do not believe it, so we evade it," said Julien Aubert, deputy of the Vaucluse Fifth district and critic of the proposed reform plan. Aubert said that the number of prisoners has increased because crime has increased throughout France in direct contrast to the rest of Europe.
On the far right political spectrum, increased crime in France requires actions which provides more safety for French citizens. They say having more lower-crime criminals on the streets may not work.
"France needs a tougher criminal policy," said Gilles Lebreton, head of the National Front Party's delegation to the European Parliament.
During his presidential campaign, Macron had promised to address overcrowding in the prison problem which has been a safety issue for inmates and prison guards.
Macron was recently pushed to address the problem by protesting prison guard who blocked access to the prison facilities until their pay and safety concerns were addressed.
Prisoners had to contend with sleeping on floors in crowded, and most times, unsanitary conditions. During the prison strike, garbage was not collected and inmates resorted to throwing refuse out the windows attract vermin and producing a foul odor.
France has an estimated prison population of nearly 70,000 inmates while the nationwide prison infrastructure has a 61,000 inmate capacity. Fifteen percent of France’s prison population are non-French citizens while more than half of France’s inmates are Muslims.
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