The head of state presented Tuesday his vision of the criminal sanction and advocated for a justice which pronounces less prison sentences, but sentences executed better.
The President of the Republic went, Tuesday, March 6, the National School of Prison Administration (ENAP) to announce the launch of the "penitentiary plan" he had claimed January 15 before the Court of Cassation. Emmanuel Macron preferred to present his philosophy of criminal justice and punishment, refusing to lock himself into a "Real estate logic". It aims neither more nor less to upset the way France approaches the prison sentence.
True to his strategy of returning back to back a left that would be lax and a right that would be safe, the head of state wants to impose a shock of method and a clash of ideas. He explained to hundreds of students of different trades trained in ENAP (prison supervisors, officers, prison directors, integration counselors and directors of such services) his wish to impulse a new judicial policy that will "Get out of prison several thousand people for whom the prison is useless, even counterproductive".
While affirming that this will be "The exact opposite of laxity". According to him, laxity corresponds to the current situation where, despite "Chin blows", the delays of execution of the sentences are too long and their arrangement incomprehensible. But it is also unworthy prison conditions, synonymous with a prison that fails to protect society: "We make prison the antechamber of recidivism, (...) a place where violence that must be curbed and appeased ferments and multiplies. "
"A form of collective hypocrisy"
In the preamble of his "Philosophy of punishment", Mr. Macron recalls that "We have to accept an idea that all too often we do not want to see: there is harm in society, with men or women who sometimes commit the worst, and who will have to find a place in society". "The sentence is a moment of an individual, but is not his social and moral annihilation"he says. Without asking the question of "Moral and political content" of punishment ("Punish, protect society, and reintegrate") successive governments have caused two evils to which it intends to respond: the ineffectiveness or illegibility of sentences and prison overcrowding.
During the 2017 presidential campaign, the head of state gave his personal vision of how society must repress the perpetrator of a crime: less resort to imprisonment, but when a sentence is decided by a court , execute it quickly.
It is true that the current system is complex and unreadable, to the point of feeding a lax perception of a justice that has yet never imprisoned so much. With 69,596 people incarcerated at 1st February, the rate of people detained in France reaches almost 100 per 100,000 inhabitants against 75.6 in 2001. "We are the only European country to follow this trend, and Germany has stayed where we were fifteen years ago"said Macron to justify the cultural revolution he is proposing.
The beginning of the century was marked by the disappearance of the great laws of amnesty and presidential graces. These measures aimed at periodically releasing the overflow of prisons had become difficult to justify in the face of an opinion preoccupied with the theme of security. They have been replaced by "A form of collective hypocrisy" which leads to unconditional prison sentences "And to arrange them elsewhere", in the words of the Head of State.
"Convert our look to grief"
Since the laws of 2004 and 2009, sentences handed down by a court up to two years' imprisonment can be adjusted according to the convicted person's profile. What to add additional delays to justice already overflowed. Penalties do not begin to be enforced sometimes six months or more after the conviction, which may occur several years after the offense. This makes the victim, society and the offender lose their sense of pain.
"Effectiveness" which is according to Mr. Macron one of the two pillars of the sentence with " dignity ", goes through a drastic reduction of the possibilities of development of sentences. They will not be possible beyond a one-year sentence. For sentences between six and twelve months, the sentence enforcement judge may only intervene if he is directly seized by the correctional judge.
On the other hand, convinced that the short prison sentences make no sense, the president simply wants to prohibit to pronounce a sanction lower than a month. Sentences of one to six months will be executed outside the walls (electronic bracelet, semi-liberty or external placement with an association approved by the prison administration), except reasoned decision of the judge. Some 90,000 sentences of one to six months are pronounced each year.
But the great ambition of Mr. Macron is to ensure that the prison sentence is no longer the alpha and the omega of the criminal sanction, both in the eyes of judges and society. He's talking about "Convert our gaze to grief". Thus, the Ministry of Justice is working to rewrite the scale of sentences in correctional matters (for crimes and not crimes) that would grow: prohibitions, internships (detoxification, citizenship, etc.), the day- fine, fine, community service, probation, electronic bracelet, prison.
Work of general interest (TIG) such as electronic bracelet or internships can become autonomous penalties and not arrangements perceived as substitutes. It is for this purpose that a national agency of work of general interest will see the light of day. "We must break with the utilitarian and politico-media vision of punishment, which is not there to respond to an emotion of society. " The president also wants to rehabilitate the penal constraint, that Christiane Taubira failed to bring into the courts, bringing it together with the suspended sentence.
Construction of 7,000 places of imprisonment in five years
This new penal policy is supposed to be a first element of answer to prison overpopulation. The second is the construction of prison places. If he claims to support the goal of 15,000 additional spaces announced in October 2016 by the previous government, he will be content to build 7,000 in five years. It's less than expected.
Above all, the level of security of the institutions should be more diversified, until the so-called open prisons. But he wants to take advantage of the means thus released to develop support in prison and in an open environment by creating 1,500 insertion and probation counseling posts (out of 4,000) in five years and developing activities to fight against idleness. For if the prison sentence is to be applied with the utmost firmness when it is decided, it must be useful.
Another symbol of this refoundation desired by the President of the Republic, the insistence with which he evoked the rights of prisoners. First the right to vote, so that it can be exercised in detention. The prisoner is deprived of liberty, not of his citizenship. The approach is the same about labor law. Mr. Macron suggests that, in a setting that is certainly adapted to prison, working prisoners should have a real contract, with guarantees. "We can not ask them to respect society if we deny the dignity and rights of these individuals"he justifies.
The law planning law that Nicole Belloubet should present in the Council of Ministers on April 11 is a much broader field including a reform of civil and criminal procedures and a reorganization of the network of courts and courts. But it will also include many other measures on prison and the sentence that Mr. Macron did not mention in Agen. As the limitation for judges to resort to pre-trial detention that reaches highs.