France: for moral sociology in prison

From its inception to today, prison has always been the subject of criticism.

Many are speaking out to publicize, criticize or denounce what goes on in prison. The findings remain unchanged, while the condemnations continue to increase; the latest one being in 2020, when France was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for its prison conditions deemed inhuman and degrading. How can we consider prison critique? What tools can be used to adapt the role of prisons and the meaning of sentences? Is there hope for a successful outcome?

Corinne Rostaing is a sociologist. She looks back on 30 years of prison research in her recently published book, Une institution dégradante, la prison. Prison Insider asks her three questions.

Degrading people means condemning them to loss of dignity, which is a result of harsh prison conditions

L’organisation carcérale est tellement défensive : sa mission prioritaire est sécuritaire et consiste à éviter les évasions.

In inventing freedom, the revolution gave birth to its opposite. Prison is the deprivation of freedom, which should justify its moderate use, limited to the most serious cases