84,000 ‘yel­low vests’ protest across France

The Nation - - WORLD -

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

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