Topic terror attacks. Conditions at Fresnes, in the Val

Topic1: What is the Problem?France has broken its own record of prison overcrowding assecurity boosts across the country in resply to recent terror attacks. Conditionsat Fresnes, in the Val de Marne region east of the capital, are “inhumanor degrading” according to the European Court of Human Rights norm. The prisonholds twice as many inmates as it can hold. The situation has deterioratedsince their last visit two years ago, while the prison’s population has soared52 percent in the last 10 years to 3,000. Meanwhile there is shortage ormanagement and supervisory staff and an estimated 70 percent of wardens aretrainees. There is overpopulation of inmates, visiting rooms are small anddirty, toilets lack privacy and hygiene is deplorable, rats infest the prisoncourtyard, and have also invaded parts of the building, their urine leakingthrough artificial ceilings in the cells, and violent incidents between prisonersare frequent.

Topic2: How does the problem affect the country?Suicide rates in French prisons are exceedingly high. Men andwomen with psychological disabilities are at risk of suicide or harmingthemselves. In some cases when their condition deteriorates they transferred topsychiatric hospitals against their will. Return to the prisonenvironment – without sufficient support or appropriate accommodations – canlead to a recurrence of mental health conditions and re-hospitalization, sometimesensnaring prisoners in an endless cycle of hospitalization, discharge,deterioration, and re-hospitalization. Such a cycle is both harmful to thepatient’s health and disruptive and costly to the prison and the hospitalinvolved. The economic crisis has had no impact onthe annual budget of the prison administration.

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However, most of the additionalfunds were allocated to increase the prison estate rather than rehabilitation initiatives.Prisoners and their families are also affected by the crisis. The impact of thecrisis is felt at the political level. The Government highlights the context offiscal restraint to turn down any proposal to improve conditions of detentionor to take into account the relatives of