The number of inmates in French prisons has reached a new record, with 70,230 prisoners registered as of April 1, according to the website of the French Ministry of Justice. The figure exceeds the average capacity of French prisons, which is reportedly just over 58,000.
The number of detentions in the country in March had already exceeded the official capacity of French prisons, with a total of 69,430 inmates while the prisons only had the capacity for 58,760.
The number reportedly indicates an average overpopulation by 120 percent for the start of April and seven French prisons has exceeded the capacity by at least 200 percent.
Overcrowded prisons lead to increasing tensions inside the institutions and are an object of concern for prison directors, prison guard unions and associations working for prisoners' rights. By April 1, 1,883 persons were sleeping on mattresses on the ground, according to reports. Mainly concerned are those who are not yet convicted but are waiting for their trials.
Poor conditions have especially been noted for the prison of Fresnes, Val-de-Marne, one of the largest prisons in France, where 2,500 detainees are said to have to live in rat and bed-bug infested surroundings.
Both of the candidates for the second round of presidential elections argue in favor of the construction of more premises for prisoners. However, the proportions of envisaged enlargements set them apart. While Emmanuel Macron wants to add another 15,000 places, Marine Le Pen aims to establish 40,000 additional places for prisoners.