The major virus threat for France's overcrowded jails

Amid the galloping Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic in France, there is a particularly grave threat to the country’s prison population, many of who are detained in overcrowded and insalubrious conditions. The dangers are such that measures are underway to reduce inmate numbers, with magistrates advised to deliver bail conditions instead of jail terms, and to approve unusually early release for prisoners nearing the end of their sentences. But many magistrates find themselves caught in a dilemma over both practical and ethical issues.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

As the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic takes hold of France, and while the nation grapples with adjusting to the officially imposed drastic “lockdown” on movement, there is one largely unseen section of the population that is particularly exposed to the threat of propagation of the virus, and the implications are causing serious concern for them, their families, lawyers and justice officials; they are the more than 70,000 people locked up in French prisons.