Report: Number of French Prisoners Increased by 23 Per Cent in a Decade

The worn bars in the cell block are seen at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay, August 11, 2011. Seventy-seven years ago on August 11, 1934, a group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrived at the new high-security penitentiary designed …

The French prison population has increased by almost 25 per cent in ten years, leading to problems with overcrowding.

A report published by the Council of Europe and released on Tuesday says there has been a 23.3 per cent increase in the number of inmates per 100,000 of the total French population and a 31 per cent rise in the prison population as a whole going from 58,053 prisoners in 2005 to 76,111 in 2015, Le Monde reports.

The increases have done nothing to help the already existing problem with prison overcrowding. There were 114 prisoners for every 100 places in 2005, which spiked in 2013 at 136 prisoners per 100 places.

There was a substantial drop in the number of deaths in prisons over the ten-year period from 43 to 17 per 10,000 prisoners and suicide rates dropped by more than half from 21 to 10 per 10,000 inmates, although the statistic is still regarded as being high.

Earlier this year, French police investigated the suspicious deaths of two prisoners at the Fleury-Mérogis prison in the department of Essonne outside of Paris, well-known for its radical Islamic inmate population and being a hub of radicalisation.

Another prison known for having a large radical Islamic population saw major riots in 2016. A fire at the Vivonne-Poitiers prison resulted in around 60 detainees escaping their cells, leading to five security guards and six prisoners needing to be hospitalised as a result of the violence.

Radical Islamic extremists have also managed to smuggle in mobile devices into French prisons with two men even using a mobile phone to communicate with Islamic State terrorists and plot a terror attack whilst behind bars.

Last month it was also revealed that an inmate at Tarascon had allegedly published Islamic State propaganda with a phone that had been smuggled into the prison. The inmate, named Amir, later claimed that he had nothing to do with the posts and said he had loaned the phone to other inmates who could have posted the terrorist material.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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