Number of prisoners in French jails record high: Report
Feb 23, 2012
The number of detainees in French prisons has hit a record high, according to a new report issued by the Chief Supervisor of Detention facilities, PressTV reports.
A total of 65, 699 inmates were in French prisoners as of February 1, 2012, despite a decline in delinquency in the last five years, the report said.
The report stated that over the last 40 years, the rate of handing out prison sentences has more than doubled.
The French parliament will soon be discussing a prison creation plan that would increase existing capacity by more that 33 percent by 2017.
The report advised against building mega-prisons which could lead to prison-industrial complex, as in the US, and urged the construction of small prisons with a capacity of less than 600 places or repairing existing jails, which are often located in the center of towns and in poor conditions.
During his presidency, and beginning with his role as the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy has pushed for harsher sentences for minor crimes such as theft, assault and illegal immigration.
It is estimated that the people convicted of such crimes account for two-thirds of those in short term jails.
It is estimated that 70 percent of the long-term prisoners are of Arab ethnic background, despite composing just 5 to 10 percent of the population.