Record prison population sees French jails reach breaking point

By and

The French prison population this month reached a record 68,569, more than 10,000 more than the official capacity of jails, according to the latest official figures released Monday.  While some prisons cope with an overpopulation of 200%, France’s general inspector of prisons and detention centres, Jean-Marie Delarue, warned of the risk of violent rebellion among prisoners this summer. The government, meanwhile, is under attack by magistrates’ unions for dithering over a decisive reform of what President Hollande himself described as his predecessor’s “blind rush for all-out incarceration”. Michel Deléan and Lorraine Kihl report.

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The number of people detained in French prisons has risen this month to a record 68,569, including 17,318 who are being held in preventive detention while awaiting trial and 799 minors, according to government figures released this week.