close
Wednesday April 17, 2024

French prison rights group urges end to solitary cells

Body also denounced numerous cases of violence and bullying by prison guards reported both to OIP and official oversight bodies

By AFP
February 07, 2024
A prison can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File
A prison can be seen in this picture. — AFP/File

PARIS: Solitary confinement cells commonly used as punishment in French prisons should be “abolished”, a rights group said on Tuesday, flagging “serious and numerous infractions to prisoners´ dignity and fundamental rights”.

The International Prison Observatory (OIP) said in a report that in 2022 “half the punishments decided by prison disciplinary commissions led to solitary confinement” -- amounting to over 100,000 days.

This ran counter to recommendations from rights body the Council of Europe that solitary should be “imposed as a punishment only in exceptional cases, and for a specified period of time, which shall be as short as possible”, it argued.

Such cells in France offer “inhuman” conditions with “furniture bolted to the floor, windows that barely allow light in, total isolation, one hour per day outside in a ´walking courtyard´ with barely any view of the sky and no equipment” for exercise, the OIP said.

The body also denounced “numerous cases of violence and bullying by prison guards” reported both to the OIP and official oversight bodies.