Justice: with more than 71,000 detainees in French prisons in April, prison overcrowding reached 117%


French prison establishments have in principle 60,683 operational places.

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Always more. The number of detainees in France exceeded the 71,000 mark on April 1, confirming the rise above the symbolic threshold of 70,000 recorded in March, according to official figures published on Friday April 29. On April 1, French prison establishments had 71,053 prisoners for 60,683 operational places, i.e. an overall prison density of 117.1% against 107.1% a year ago.

The number of people incarcerated had passed the 70,000 mark on March 1, a threshold which had not been reached in French prisons since the start of the health crisis two years ago. Over one year, there were 5,927 more detainees, representing a growth of 9.1% of the prison population.

According to statistical data from the Ministry of Justice, 13,996 detainees are currently in excess of the places available in penitentiary establishments. Prison density stands at 139% in remand centers where prisoners awaiting trial – and therefore presumed innocent – and those sentenced to short sentences are imprisoned.

Forty-four French prisons have a density greater than 150%. This density even exceeds 200% in six establishments (222.3 in Bordeaux-Gradignan, 217% in Nîmes, 215.8% in Perpignan, 205.1% in Fontenay-le-Comte, 204.7% in Carcassonne and 203, 1% in Foix). Due to this overcrowding, 1,878 prisoners are forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor. They were 830 in this case on April 1, 2021.



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