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28/09/2021.France must act on its pre-trial detention problem
The French Senate has been debating the new bill on “confidence in the judicial institution.” The original bill on ‘confidence in the judicial institution’ proposed by the National Assembly included a wholly inadequate reference to pre-trial detention, focusing on its extension and on electronic monitoring. This weak proposal was rightly removed by the Senate Committee, as it would not reduce the number of pre-trial detainees. However, this has meant that now there is no reference at all to pre-trial detention in the bill. According to data from the French Ministry of Justice, in July this year, 28% of France’s prison population were legally innocent and awaiting trial. The overuse of pre-trial detention has contributed to severe overcrowding in detention centres, the deterioration of prison conditions and the violation of fundamental rights. The recent trial of Valérie Bacot has also demonstrated the urgent need for structural reform regarding France’s use of pre-trial detention. — Fair Trials