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Reviews Justice reform: what is the automatic remission of sentences?

21:30  03 march  2021
21:30  03 march  2021 Source:   lefigaro.fr

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Éric Dupond-Moretti souhaite supprimer ces crédits automatiques de remise de peine. © BERTRAND GUAY / AFP Éric Dupond-Moretti wishes to abolish these automatic credits for remission of sentence.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the sentences executed are almost systematically lower than those handed down at the time of conviction. A fact which is explained by the existence of the Credit for the reduction of sentence (CRP), a device that could be removed by the bill carried by the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti , unveiled Tuesday, March 2 by the Point. "As much as the French can understand that discounts are granted to reward a reintegration effort, they cannot accept that these reductions are automatic, as they are today. To be honest with you, neither do I ”, declared the minister. But what is it exactly?

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Created in 2004, the CRP system automatically grants a reduction in the length of imprisonment calculated according to the length of the sentence: 3 months for the first year in prison, then two months for subsequent years. For a sentence of less than one year, this is 7 days reduction per month, up to a cumulative limit of two months maximum.

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To benefit from this reduction, the detainee does not have to make the request: the CRP will be applied automatically, but it remains conditional on the voucher behavior in detention: "The judge responsible for the application of sentences may be referred to by the head of the establishment or upon request from the public prosecutor for the purpose of withdrawing (...) this reduction of sentence" , specifies the article 721 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Not to be confused with the additional reduction of sentence (RSP), which is not automatic: it rewards prisoners who demonstrate particularly exemplary behavior, for example, by investing in the life of the prisoner. establishment. "These automatic credits can be considered as a" gift package ", a due if there is no incident" , details Ivan Guitz, first vice-president at the judicial court of Bobigny and president of the National Association of Sentencing Judges.

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A lever for action for prison staff

Possession of a cell phone, refusal to comply, possession of cannabis are the most frequently sanctioned incidents. "The penalty enforcement committee can withdraw ten days of credits for this kind of thing, then a month in the event of a repeat offense" , explains Yvan Guitz. It is therefore a question of encouraging, through this, good behavior in detention. "For some inmates, this is a real lever for action. Seasoned offenders know how to figure things out to get out quickly. Two months out of a year is a lot. For long sentences, additional years in prison are at stake. ”

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" It is true that the credits play the role of carrot for the prison staff ", recognizes Sébastien Nicolas, general secretary of the FO union Prison Directorate . “But this is not the only totem of peace in detention. A negative behavior can be sanctioned differently, by a disciplinary sanction, or by a criminal prosecution ”, he qualifies.

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Three quarters of detainees benefit from it

In recent years, the granting of automatic credits has been abolished for certain prisoners: for sentences linked to acts of terrorism on the one hand, then, since 2019, for certain convicted prisoners in in the context of domestic violence. While ’Éric Dupond-Moretti criticizes a device created " with the sole aim of regulating the penal population, without saying it ", some sentencing judges point out that its abolition could worsen prison overcrowding. “In fact, only a quarter of prisoners have these reduction credits withdrawn. If we remove them automatically, the sentences will therefore be longer ", estimates Yvan Guitz.

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