Suicides at Europe's largest prison highlight death toll across French jails


The apparent suicide by hanging of a 48-year-old man found in his cell on August 7th at the Fleury-Mérogis prison south of Paris, the largest in Europe, brought the number of inmates reported to have taken their own lives there since the start of the year to 11 – more than the total number of suicides in the prison over the previous two years. The alarming figure highlights the recurrent problem of suicides among France’s prison population, which are proportionally around six times more than among the general population according to prisoner rights associations which denounce the reluctance of successive governments to effectively tackle the problem.

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As in almost every case of suicide by an inmate of France’s prisons, which in July recorded a total population of close to 71,000, the prison authorities have provided little official information about that of a 48-year-old man found dead in his cell last week at the Fleury-Mérogis jail, situated in the southern Paris suburb of the same name.