Minority Muslims, 70% of French inmates
As the number of French prisoners is expected to break a new record this month, Muslims account for 70 percent of inmates despite making only 5-10 percent of the population, Press TV reports.
Widespread poverty and discrimination against French Muslims have been regularly mentioned as the main cause of their incarceration, but the phenomenon has not yet been closely probed, largely due to political consequences.
In addition to overcrowding, poor sanitation and increased frequency of jailhouse attacks and suicides are other features of French prisons.
The country has been repeatedly censured by the European Court of Human Rights for denial of basic rights and alarming suicide rate among prisoners.
According to Arnaud Gaillard, a prison sociologist, most French prisons are not in good shape.
“We need to comply with the European rules and we need to get some quality of imprisonment here in France,” he added.
During his tenure as the French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, insisted on austerity on crime and pushed for harsher sentences for minor crimes such as theft, assault and illegal immigration to France.
Researchers maintain that people convicted of these crimes currently account for two-thirds of those in short-term jails.
Gaillard maintains that although crime rate is not very high in France, the government only relies on imprisonment and toughness on crime as the sole solution.