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“It becomes impossible to apply the minimum preventive measures”, warns the controller general of prisons

“In remand centers, it becomes impossible to apply minimum preventive measures” faced with the Covid-19 epidemic, explained Monday, March 8 on franceinfo Dominique Simonnot, the general controller of places of deprivation of liberty. She signs in the newspaper The world a forum to alert people to the dangers associated with prison overcrowding in the midst of an epidemic. Dominique Simonnot called to resume “the ordinances of the spring which had allowed without wave, without clash, and without rise of the particular delinquency, the release of a few thousand people”.

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While France is trying to cope with the third wave of the epidemic and is stepping up its vaccination campaign, the places of deprivation of liberty are the great forgotten ones in this crisis, according to Dominique Simonnot: “Prisoners over the age of 75 have been vaccinated, they represent 240 people. Not the others. But I am especially worried about the rise of contaminations. Prison directors are also worried because they are crowded.”

The teams of the Controller General of Prisons visited several penitentiary establishments presenting particularly worrying situations: “Recently, our teams visited three establishments in which they found a dormitory with three bunk beds and three or four mattresses on the floor. They found doubled or tripled cells, and there is no more room to make a quarter. isolated in case these new detainees test positive for the coronavirus. “

Because of these detention conditions, it becomes impossible to apply the “minimum measures” prevention, according to Dominique Simonnot: “The team visited a prison filled to 172%. There are some which reach 180 or 200%. Why do not we take again the orders of the spring which had allowed without wave, without shock, without rise of the particular delinquency, the release of a few thousand people? With 1,000 new prisoners every month, we are returning to the situation before these orders. ” The Controller General of Prisons called on the government to resume these orders, but did not receive a positive response to her request.

“I do not understand, because all the professionals, the directors of prisons, the associations fighting for the rights of prisoners, the magistrates’ unions … Everyone shares my opinion.”

Dominique Simonnot, General Controller of Prisons

to franceinfo

“Everything is more complicated during this epidemic”, explains this specialist in legal affairs. “In prison, activities are already quite limited, and there they are even more so. Imagine spending 22 hours a day in a cell with three, four or even eight fellow inmates, it is inhuman. The Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Council have requested the government to legislate before March 1 [2021] to offer detainees an effective remedy to evoke these unworthy situations and obtain their release. “

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