France

In Brittany, the prisons accommodate nearly 600 extra prisoners – Prisons: the overflow in Brittany




Even full, the prisons are still filling up. The number of places increased between October 2021 and October 2022, but there are still fewer available, according to the count of the ministry.

In prisons, establishments dedicated to shorter sentences and which account for two thirds of the 72,000 people detained in France, prison overcrowding remains at peak levels.

Fifteen thousand detainees are in excess. Brittany is no exception: nearly 600 places are missing in establishments in the region.

Remand prisons, remand prison quarters, what are they?

The remand centers receive accused persons in pre-trial detention and convicted persons whose remaining sentence does not exceed two years. The remand prison quarters meet the same criteria, within a prison centre.

What is the situation in Breton remand prisons?

Of the seven remand centers based in administrative Brittany – Rennes and Rennes-Vezin, Brest, Saint-Brieuc, Lorient, Vannes, Saint-Malo – six record a prison density (the ratio between the number of prisoners and places available) greater than 130%.

Only that of the center of Rennes, which only welcomes women, has free places. In total, there are 1,171 places in these remand centers, for 1,750 registered prisoners.

Almost two detainees for a place in Saint-Brieuc

The prison of Saint-Brieuc records the worst prison density in Brittany: 160 people are detained there, for 85 theoretical places. With 88% overcrowding, there is approaching a situation where there are two prisoners for a single place.

A finding on which the mayor of the city specifically alerted the Minister of Justice in a letter on October 17. Next come the remand centers of Brest, Vannes and Lorient, which all accommodate half the capacity of the establishment.

A long standing situation

The situation is unfortunately not new. Over the last ten years, few are the months of October during which a Breton remand center has had fewer prisoners than places.

In Brest, the occupancy rate has been increasing almost continuously since 2016, going from 136% in October of that year to 163% today.

If in other establishments, such as Rennes-Vezin, overcrowding has progressed little in recent years, it remains a fact of life. A situation to be compared to the ever-increasing increase in the number of additional detainees, up to 200 per week in October, according to Le Monde.

Why speak only of remand prisons?

In the detention centres, which hold people sentenced to terms of more than two years, the number of detainees is limited and does not exceed the number of places available.

It is therefore in the 81 remand centers in France, which accommodate people in pre-trial detention and those serving a sentence of less than two years, that prison overcrowding is observed.

In the rest of France, the number of detainees even exceeds twice the number of places in the prisons of Carcassonne (220% prison density), Nîmes (215%) and Bordeaux-Gradignan (207%).

Another indicator testifies to this lasting human problem: the number of mattresses installed on the floor to compensate for the lack of beds. The prison administration counted more than 2,000 on October 1, a figure never observed on this date in previous years.

Imperfect numbers

These statistics from the Department of Justice show the trend. But a single raw number does not erase location-specific issues. In some establishments, dilapidation adds to overcrowding, as in Saint-Brieuc.

In still others, the statistics are less severe than the reality. Thus, in Vannes, the number of places includes a district currently closed for renovation. Taking this into account, the density there reaches the same level as in Saint-Brieuc.

In total, throughout France, only four out of ten detainees were imprisoned in an individual cell on October 1. A principle yet enshrined in law since 2009, the application of which has just been postponed.



letelegramme Fr Trans

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