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(en) France, Coordination of Anarchist Groups CGA - IAL #94 - Prison? : Rehabilitation, suicide or slow death ... (fr) [machine translation]
Fri, 22 Feb 2013 17:36:40 +0200
In the previous article (IAL No. 93), we saw that in the French system, profit prisons.
Today we will try to address the daily detention. ---- If the deprivation of liberty,
sanction reference our criminal justice system is widely accepted by our society, it is
rarely questioned on the lives of 64,584 people held (1) in French prisons. ---- The
confinement is not only a sentence imposed by a court, it is also a time lived and for
many a time counted by the hour, day after day, "the boredom of prison" (2) it is often
the only thing that is given to live prisoners. The law of 24 November 2009 may well
highlight "the need to prepare the integration or reintegration" of prisoners, most of
them are still being deprived of the means and the opportunity to be full actors of their
1. Integration or reintegration?
"We pretend to re-socialize individuals by imposing the worst social lives imaginable.
Article 1 of the Prisons Act of 24 November 2009 states: "The enforcement regime of
deprivation of liberty reconciles the protection of society, the punishment of the
offender and the victim's interests with the need to prepare integration or reintegration
of the prisoner in order to lead a responsible life and prevent the commission of further
In simple words, it means that the mission of the prison administration is fourfold: to
protect society, to ensure the punishment / the condemned · e, promoting his amendment,
and allow his rehabilitation. But what is it in reality?
There is much talk of rehabilitation: should first mention of "insertion", because a good
portion of people who are put in prison are not actually included in the company prior to
incarceration. They have suffered in their past (often in childhood) deficiencies
educational, emotional and psychosocial problems. Where acts or criminal below.
As for incarceration, it is only "detaching" the further detention · e · s family, work
and society. The prison institution breeze, depersonalized, deconstructs · e · s held for
years, to the point of making them unable to cope with life outside when it · s · meet
there face · e · s.
In addition, the Prisons Act, introducing an obligation activity for those convicted,
spent the idea that the activities would be part of the execution of the sentence. This
logic was already evident in earlier practices such as taking into account participation
in custody for obtaining remission, and deployment, through activities, evaluation
mechanisms and behavioral monitoring.
In such a framework, judicial and prison often hold a monopoly on the assignment of
meaning to an activity: activities considered objectively rewarding are privileged at the
expense of potential interest to grant the detainees and consistent with their lifestyle
It should be added that today, vocational training, mainly oriented learning textbooks
often remain little qualification: paid work are mostly boring and low status (see IAL No.
93); curricula, few, mainly oriented learning "knowledge base". If government policies
and, in the current system, wanted to take seriously the role assigned to the
rehabilitation prison, should implement a more ambitious quantitative and qualitative
terms, which involve human and financial resources so far largely absent (3).
In fact, only 27.7% of inmates · e · s work. About the activities offered in writing
workshops, pottery and others they have in too many schools on the fingers of one hand.
Sport remains very courted by inmate · e · s. Should multiply theater courses or forms of
artistic expression in all prisons for the greatest number, it would help convict · e · s
· what to sublimate it · s are. Moreover, from the time the match is allowed, the e-mails
exchanged with the family should be allowed in the rules of control measures. The law
assigns to prison three missions: punish, rehabilitate and prevent recurrence. Say, with
the current Attorney Christiane Taubira that "prison is meaningless" (4), it is clear that
the last two missions including reintegration are not insured today. As a result, the
prison makes our society · e · s individual that look just like those and those entered ·
e · s in prison or even Makeup · more dangerous.
2. Suicide in prison
The International Observatory of Prisons (OIP) found in 2011 the increase in suicides in
prison, despite prevention plans implemented in recent years. The prison administration
refuses to communicate in each case occurring on suicides in French prisons but publishes
the annual number of suicides. Thus, according to its latest figures, 116 suicides took
place in 2011, against 109 in 2010 and 115 in 2009. In 2011, there were also 1,932
attempted suicides in French prisons against 2,246 in 2010 and 2,599 in 2009. Which means
a suspicious death or suicide every three days in jail, 10 times more than in free.
Even assuming the existence of factors predisposing to suicide, it can be concluded that
the prison is a medium "suicidogenic", that is to say, that fosters the transition to the
suicidal act. We show what are the different arguments that validate this hypothesis.
The isolation from the outside world is the first amputation suffered the prisoner's
Detainees · e · s most who commit suicide are those for whom the sense of deprivation is
the strongest, that is to say those who have the most to lose with their incarceration.
Indeed, it is primarily held · e · s · e · s married with children and have a relatively
high level of education that most suicide.
Have been in prison is an indelible stigma for the inmate and is often accompanied by a
decline in social status. This is really the expression "to be inside" makes sense. Not
only the individual · e · e is completely cut off from the outside world for the duration
of his incarceration, but he or she will last a lifetime prison in him or her.
The ritual of entry into the institution and counting goods also cause hardship, loss of
identity and a degradation of the image itself.
Indeed, the detainee · e · e is subject to a ritual of entry into the prison which
symbolizes leaving the outside world. Is performed to verify its identity, fingerprints
are taken, a number is assigned nut, his personal effects were recorded until its release
and he or she must undergo a strip search before being assigned · e in arriving cell. The
full search is a very traumatic event for entering detention. The body search, which is a
violation of privacy, symbolizes the influence of the body of the institution, the inmate · e.
Incarceration also creates a degradation of the image itself. It can lead to neglect of
care of the body, by taking important medicines for sleep as long as possible, by
autoagressifs behavior or a withdrawal itself.
Then, another factor that contributes to the degradation of the self-image comes from
multiple sources of daily humiliations that must live or detained · e. Older cells do not
have toilets, the detainee · s · e · e · are obliged to fulfill their s intimate needs in
front of their others. The showers are collective or the detainee must · e · e grooming
naked in front of others.
Prison is often dirty, disgusting. Just read the articles on the "scandal Baumettes"
revealed recently (5) to get an idea. What energy must be deployed to fight against this
pervasive taint! Degradation of the environment is naturally associated with a
deterioration in self-image, self report.
Diversity in cells and self-image
We find this phenomenon mainly under house arrest, where defendant · e · s, · e · s
sentenced to short sentences and condemned · e · s long sentences awaiting transfer to
punishment in schools are · e · s incarcerated together. Prison is a medium strong
hierarchy that has its own culture. In addition, the mix may be required by the prison
administration to prevent some attempts to escape. Detainees · e · s often fear a risk of
moral contamination. We can also mention the fear of "new", "new", which are mixed · e · s
with recidivists, become like those who can not get rid of the prison, returning
tirelessly behind bars .
As for the "pointers", they are often isolated from the rest of the prison population
because they may be insulted or assaulted by other inmates. This may explain why this
population is experiencing high rates of suicide.
Loss of autonomy
Another source of degradation of the self-image that created the prison institution comes
from the loss of autonomy that it induces. The prison institution and held the
infantilizes · e, · the extent it has no autonomy in the most mundane gestures of everyday
life. · There she has virtually no flexibility and is dependent · e decisions of the
prison administration, since any request must be made in writing and or held e · no
assurance that its application is heard. Finally, owned or · e · e is completely taken
care of by the institution and may lose the habit of only manage · e in society.
Detention time is marked by its repetitive and monotonous. Prison time can promote the
development of negative thoughts. Indeed, under house arrest, a detainee · e · e that does
not work or does not participate in cultural activities can take up to 22 hours out of 24
cell. So in that prison time may seem longer. But the feelings of expectation, inactivity
and being useful to anyone can lose the detainee the meaning of life. Prison life appears
as a slow death, or the detainee · e not finding reasons to continue its existence.
Manifestations of suffering
The pathogenicity of the prison may have three forms of consequences psychotropic drugs in
detention, violence and abuse straight aggressive aggressive self.
Firstly, it should be noted that the use of psychotropic drugs in prison is much higher
than in free · e · Some held that s consume feel this is the trap that consumption and
dependence creates. But for others, drugs are seen as means to support the prison, to
manage his anxiety or nervousness.
For IOPs, prison violence can be explained not only by the fact that some · e · s · e · s
held are very disturbed · e · s · e · s violent, but also because the prison has a
violence on institutional and held · e, which does not have a means of expression and
affirmation, will respond to this violence against aggressive acts straight and acts
aggressive self. Indeed, the futility of efforts, the inability to turn his situation is a
form of violence and when the word has no effect, held · e · s tend to go "one step up"
for be heard: knock on the door, yelling, assault or mutilate themselves.
The last event of this evil be returned for aggression against oneself. Generally referred
to as aggressive behavior self at large. You must see that they cover very different
There are on average 1500 per year self-harm, but it should nevertheless be noted that
they are in decline. The hunger strikes over seven days also experiencing a decrease.
Suicides and prison conditions
There are differences in suicide rates depending on the nature of the institution,
according to its structure, its age and the nature of the detention regime.
Indeed, as noted above, the majority of inmates · e · s committing suicide was
incarcerated in a prison. However, prisons are prisons where prison conditions are harder,
with overcrowding, dilapidated premises, the difficulty of implementing activities, due to
the uncertainty of the duration of confinement .
There are also differences in the characteristics of schools. In fact, there are more
suicides in overcrowded. Then there are more suicides in institutions under supervision.
In addition, the suicide rate is lower in schools where a socio-educational staff has to
bear less than 80 inmates. Finally, the relative lack of medical personnel may also be
cited as an aggravating factor for suicide. In general, the suicide rate tends to increase
with the age of the property.
There are differences in suicide rates by the regime of incarceration within a prison.
Indeed, as noted above, there is an overrepresentation of suicide in punishment block. We
find the same characteristics of suicide than the rest of the detention, but so amplified.
These figures can be explained by the fact that the disciplinary is a place feared by the
inmates · e · s is "prison within a prison" and living conditions are even harsher than
the normal detention. Indeed, the solitary discipline, commonly called the "solitary",
consists in the confinement of the detained or · e · e only.
Placement in a disciplinary cell is not a harmless act, insofar as it can affect the
mental and physical health of inmates · e · s and where suicides are very common. The ICB,
the punishment block can even be called "white torture" (6).
Let us finally address a prisoner of the prison of Fleury-Merogis "Suicide can not be the
result of desperation, it is the result of pressures in life without opportunities to
defend themselves. The prison, which exempts under democratic control and allows all forms
of arbitrariness. Women, men are humiliated, banned, denied their willingness dehumanized.
This has resulted in the high rate of suicide in prison. "(7)
3. Long sentences
The death penalty, which we find traces in ancient times, was abolished in 1981 by
President François Mitterand, making France one of the last countries in the European
Union to abolish it.
The death penalty is, since 1981, replaced by the sentence. But already in 1840,
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, asked: "How long is
a life sentence in France? "In theory, e · s · sentenced to life imprisonment are
releasable past 18 years or 22 years for repeat offenders or at the initiative of the
Court. Only for certain cases of murder of a child or representatives of the law, the
Court may impose a term up to 30 years or prohibit release. It is possible to obtain a
reduction of this term under strict conditions, spent 20 years if 30 years and spent 30
years if all release was initially banned. Unless the risk of recurrence is substantial,
it is also possible to be released at any time · e due to end of life or health is to keep
lasting or · e held in prison.
In reality, these principles are far from being applied: thus, 23 February 2012, the
European Court of Human Rights condemned France unanimously for inflicting inhuman and
degrading treatment to an inmate. The person suffering from a "chronic psychosis like
schizophrenia" was detained for four years, from 2005 to 2009. According to the Court,
"the severity of the disease is reached [ZG] is undisputed," and should therefore have
been subject to "measures that will not aggravate his mental state [...] that did not many
roundtrips between this ordinary detention and hospitalization. '
Despite this ruling, this type of treatment is still relevant. Indeed, December 20, 2012
again, the site Rue89 denounced a similar case under the title "Hakim, a young
schizophrenic in prison and perdition" (8).
Conditions of detention for very old · old · e · s held totally ignored. On 7 September
2012, France Inter devoted to a program that you can listen with profit. ("The Forgotten
Prison - In the court") (9).
The blog Lawrence Jacqua posted on Dailymotion November 26, 2012, entitled "Old prison"
should be released on all TV channels. We hear the testimony of a young visitor from
prison to hospital Fresnes Prison. She has discovered "those who no longer speak ... those
for whom prison is already a grave" (10).
And, in some cases, such as Philippe El Shennawy the life she is not a death sentence
deferred and infinitely more cruel? (11).
(1) 64 584 persons detained in France: number of Penitentiary Administration May 1, 2011.
See in this regard robindeslois.org.
(2) Jean-Marie Delarue, Comptroller General of places of deprivation of liberty, quoted by
the Express. Fr 10 March 2010, described at a press conference held prisons as a "trouble
(3) See the report published by the National Coordination Group on Prison
(4) LDH Toulon, under article "Prisons" dated November 2, 2012
(5) See the website of the ICB (International Observatory of Prisons) and
(6) Public Ban http://prison.eu.org/article.php3?id_article=7296
(7) ... http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/societe/20121105.OBS8132/fleury-merogis-d
(8) ... http://www.rue89.com/.../hakim-19-ans-schizophrene-en-prison-et-en-perd
(9) www.franceinter.fr / emission-in-the-courtroom-the-forgotten-prison
(10) # http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xvebdj_les-vieux-en-prison_webcam. UOBm ...
(11) ... http://www.politis.fr/spip.php?page=recherche&recherche=philippe+el+shen
House Baumettes, "A critique of the controller places of deprivation of liberty," an
article in the online forum of 20 December 201 2 site Mille Babords
Also read about it on page OIP: Prison Baumettes (Marseille): President of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe "acknowledges the work and success of the
IPO" (Friday, December 28 2012)
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