“We must adapt penal policy to the new violence raging in France”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – The Prime Minister yesterday announced new measures to protect police officers. If these announcements are welcome, it is now necessary to deal in depth with the problem of delinquency, believes the general delegate of the Institute for Justice, Pierre-Marie Sève.

Pierre-Marie Sève is General Delegate of the Institute for Justice (IPJ), an association of citizens mobilized alongside the victims


Running after a tragic news, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced yesterday a toughening of sentences against attackers of police or gendarmes. While some of the measures are welcome, they essentially relate to crisis management and not to the basic treatment that French society needs.

France has become a violent country

Behind the murder of policeman Eric Masson, there is a fact: France has become a violent country. Without yet reaching the levels of countries like Colombia or South Africa, France is now one of the most violent countries in Europe.

It has not always been the case. The first increase in insecurity dates back to the 1970s, with a sharp rise in petty crime in particular. France, until this time, was a calm country where we left the keys on the ignition to get our bread and we did not lock the doors of houses. It was in the 1970s that the first “Don’t tempt pickpockets», «Protect your homeHave become so common in public transport. The delinquency rate per capita soared sharply at this time and then stabilized. The population has adapted to this new insecurity and changed its behavior.

The second wave is more recent. It only dates back ten years but is accelerating dangerously. Strictly speaking, it is the increase in violence. Two figures express it: according to Infostats, the number of assault and battery has been on the rise since 2012 and the increase has even accelerated to 8% per year in recent years. Even more telling, homicides and attempted homicides have increased by 79% since 2009, according to criminologist Laurent Lemasson. The last full year, 2019, will even be the year of all records since never before have so many homicides and attempted homicides been recorded in our country.

The criminal chain has derailed

When his patient is seriously affected and has been for several years, a good doctor resorts to a powerful treatment. Affected by violence and delinquency which threaten to degenerate into gangrene, France needs shock treatment to pacify the country.

It is first of all the famous “penal chain” which must be strengthened. The penal chain is the path that the perpetrator of an offense or a crime undergoes from his arrest until the effective execution of his sentence. This criminal chain is made up of three elements: first, the police. It must find and temporarily neutralize the offender. Here, the police officers agree on one point: the State provides them with the material means to fulfill their mission, the number of police having, for example, increased sharply since 2015.

Straddling the processing of immigration and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system, a mechanism would be particularly welcome: this is the Swiss mechanism for the “return of foreign criminals”.

Pierre-Marie Sève

The second element of the penal chain is the pronouncement of the sentence by justice. Once the perpetrator of the crime or offense has been found, Justice establishes the sanction he must receive and then transfers the culprit to the bodies responsible for executing this sentence. This third element, the execution of the sentence, is the work of the penitentiary services and the various judges of application or adjustment of sentences. They make sure that the sentence handed down is well executed. Today these two elements, the pronouncement and the execution of the sentence, are wrong. In fact, too many first of all are the ideological judges, for whom prison should be avoided like the plague. Too many are they strutting a hypocritical and beta humanism in the faculties of law and in the supreme courts (Court of the European Union, Council of State, etc.…). Too many are they, the politicized judges members of the Magistracy Union. Conversely, there are too few sentences handed down to match what the Penal Code provides. But above all, and in defense of the magistrates, the places in prison are far too insufficient. The construction of prison places, the reinstatement of minimum sentences are thus so many essential and urgent measures.

Irresponsible immigration fuels delinquency

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that insecurity in France is inextricably linked to the calamitous management of immigration. It is enough to take a tour in prison to realize it. Without even counting French people with an immigrant background, statistics confirm that foreigners are largely over-represented in all criminal categories. In 2019, they were twice as likely to commit homicide, assault and battery, or sexual crimes and offenses. In addition, they also represent nearly 25% of prisoners, while they are hardly more than 7.4% of the population. It will therefore be necessary to rethink both immigration and asylum policy. To do this, as I wrote in a previous article, the process is complex but doable.

Finally, straddling the processing of immigration and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system, a mechanism would be particularly welcome: it is the Swiss mechanism of “removal of foreign criminals“. This common sense measure keeps dangerous people away who have despised this privilege of welcoming us on our soil. Symbolic, this measure would also make it possible to lighten our prisons and especially to avoid serious crimes like the one concluded this Sunday at the Assizes, which cost the life of Valentin Amrouche, 25, killed by a Moroccan repeat offender.

The new French violence killed a heroic policeman a few days ago and left a family in mourning. But the supporters of laxity do not hide their face: this new violence also destroys the thousands of families from which delinquents come because delinquency, violence and victimization are vicious circles from which no one wins.

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