Letter of August 1 st 2002 from Jacques Gaillot





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prison  Can we dream of a society without jail? Or more reasonably of a world with less jails? In France we are not going in this direction. Our prisons are saturated with people; the new government is planning to build new jails with 11000 cells. We were having the same problem fifteen years ago. To face an excess of population in the prisons, new ones were built with 17 000 cells. This means that a solution has not yet been found.
Building more jails will not bring more security. Society thinks of protecting itself when instead confinement increases the number of habitual law offenders. The stay in a prison tends to destroy a person, and only a few manage to live a normal life after being released from jail.

The prisons are at the image of the society. They are the reflection of a society of competition, of inequality, of exploitation of some for the benefit of others. A society that is making losers necessarily generates violence and insecurity.

It is not all. Our society is producing law offenders that are becoming more and more younger and more and more violent.  jailhands 
To face this situation, the government uses repression. Centers of confinement for minors are being planned again.

About thirty years ago, in 1979, these sinister Centers of confinement for minors were closed on the ground of how bad they were for the youth. But today we are ready to sacrifice the young for the sake of our security. Because security is the major concern of the French, one prefers constraint to education.

It took a long time to suppress corporal punishments and death penalty. We will need also a long time to get rid of all kind of confinements that prevent the person from rehabilitating to a normal behavior. Society has to choose.