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As an echo to Emmanuel Macron’s interview on the subject of security, published Monday, April 19 by Le Figaro, Jean Castex and Eric Dupond-Moretti must go Tuesday to the practically finished construction site of the prison of Lutterbach (Haut-Rhin) to show that justice is concerned with imprisoning delinquents. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice intend to unveil in detail the second part of the construction plan for 15,000 prison places announced by the Head of State in 2017, of which only a small half has been launched.

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This new Alsatian remand center should accommodate its first detainees in October, with a capacity of 520 places, including 40 in the women’s ward and 20 for minors. Illustration of the delicate real estate arithmetic, this operation should result in a limited increase in the capacity of the penitentiary park, of 120 places, the opening of Lutterbach to make it possible to close the old remand centers of Colmar and Mulhouse (Haut- Rhine).

This political trip by Mr. Castex should make it possible to show that, despite the delay in the program, the places promised will indeed be delivered by 2027. In 2019, the 2018-2022 programming and justice reform law had counted on 7,000 places delivered before 2022, and the launch of the next 8,000 before the end of the five-year term. Knowing that to obtain 15,000 more places in a fleet of around 60,000 places currently, the government plans to build 18,000. The overall budget of 4.5 billion euros planned for this program over ten years should be committed to the tune of 2 billion before the end of the five-year term.

Conditions of detention and work

Some 2,000 places in this program have already been delivered, independently of previous programs such as the delivery in January 2019 of the new health prison in Paris, and 3,000 more will be delivered by 2023. Part of the rest of the program was hampered by the reluctance of certain local elected officials to host a penitentiary establishment on their territory, despite political speeches calling for the construction of more prisons, as in Nice. At the Ministry of Justice, we insist that the Prime Minister’s involvement in this matter has helped to unblock several situations over the past six months. Except in Nice, where the Prime Minister had made his first trip in July 2020 with his Minister of Justice, a few weeks after their appointment.

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