84,000 ‘yellow vests’ protest across France
Around 84,000 protesters turned out for the ninth round of “yellow vest” rallies across France on the weekend, up from 50,000 the previous week, the interior ministry said, adding that 244 people were detained.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that “responsibility triumphed over the temptation of confrontation” in Paris, where 8,000 protests marched “without serious incident”. The Daily Telegraph.
In an interview with the newspaper’s magazine, he said that short jail terms were “long enough to damage you and not long enough to heal you.
“You bring somebody in for three or four weeks, they lose their house, their job, their family, their reputation.
“They come [into prison], they meet a lot of interesting characters and then you whap them on to the streets again,” he said.
“The public are safer if we have a good community sentence... and it will relieve a lot of pressure on prisons.”
The change would mirror 2010 reforms in Scotland, where judges are now guided by a legal presumption against custodial sentences of less than three months.
Reoffending rates there have since fallen to their lowest levels for nearly two decades, and the Scottish government is considering extending it to less than a year.
Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, told
The Telegraph that government ministers in London “should be congratulated for having the political courage to start the debate”.
England and Wales’s prison population has doubled since the early 1990s to now stand at more than 80,000 inmates, official figures show.
Meanwhile more than half of the 86,275 offenders sentenced to immediate custody in 2017 were given sentences of six months or less.
The country’s prisons are considered in a state of crisis, with violence and drug use on the rise. – AFP