France to build 25 prisons
France’s Justice Ministry has announced plans to build new prisons to cope with a surge in the number of prisoners. Minister of Justice Michel Mercier says 25 new prisons will be constructed.
Another seven will be extended. And 15 facilities that were due to be shut down will be kept open.
The aim is to give France a prison capacity of 700,000 by 2018. Currently the capacity is 56,500.
But the number of prisoners as of two months ago was over 64,000.
The plans come as part of a law adopted in 2009 to bring France into line with European directives on prison conditions.
France has one of the highest rates of prison suicides in Europe, and has been criticised by the European Court of Human Rights for failing to provide basic care for inmates.
A 34-year-old prisoner hanged himself in jail in the eastern city of Besançon on Wednesday after hearing that he would face trial for raping his own children.