When you've been in the prison world, you can't keep your mouth shut! The Masonic approach should make it possible to find lasting solutions.
In the society of the Old Regime, the judgment of crimes and misdemeanours was based on vexation, torture, banishment, forced labour and the death penalty: in a word, it was a question of revenge and physical suffering for the power in place and society at the time!
With the Europe of the Enlightenment, it was imagined that the deprivation of freedom could have an effect of "education for citizenship" and prisons were invented!
More than three centuries later, with the inflation of penalties helping, we find ourselves in an ubuesque and detestable situation!
Those who are familiar with the prison world will agree how inhuman prison life is, and it is hard to imagine how our supposedly developed, humanistic, social (and so on) society has been able to invent such an aberrant system, for staff, inmates and families alike, to the point that when you go to these places you may wonder what planet you are talking about!
First of all, it should be noted that the sentencing system is so complicated that access to imprisonment is marked by an obvious social segregation: not everyone goes to prison.
Prison has thus become a school for crime, a banality in a path of delinquency, a place of life with its rules, its rites, its powers, its perversities. It is even possible to find groups that function more or less esoterically!
Society is reassured by imagining that the perpetrators of crimes and misdemeanours are imprisoned, but it doesn't even imagine that it is anything else at all!
And everyone to put a discreet veil over his face so as not to see the unacceptable. However, Adeline Hazan, Controller General of Places of Deprivation of Liberty since 2014, succeeding Jean-Marie Delarue, himself the first holder of the post created in 2008 on the initiative of Rachida Dati, must be recognized for her real willingness to find solutions.
If we look at a few simple cases :
What is the point of depriving a minor, a thief, a user of illicit drugs, a repeat thief, an elderly homicide victim, a mentally ill person, etc., of their liberty or imprisoning them as a preventive measure?
Don't we have different ways of "protecting" society from violence by terrorists or mafia groups than the current prison system?
Today, if it is accepted that any infringement of the common law deserves a penalty, a number of questions arise :
How can we accept that the penitentiary centres created to enforce republican law have become places where another law that is not very republican reigns: the law of silence!
Does deprivation of liberty deserve to be included among the sentences in the judicial arsenal?
And if so, in what specific cases and according to what modalities?
Can we not take stock of the inadequacy of the penitentiary system in today's world?
If we refer to the Masonic ideal, we cannot forget that we have confidence in the perfectibility of the human being and in his capacity for resilience; it is clear today that this cannot be done in the current framework of overpopulated cells, in places where it is the law of the strongest and the most resourceful that is imposed on all.
Helping a condemned man to regain a certain respectability by asking him to accept to pay "his debt" is possible on the condition of an accompaniment, a break with a pathogenic environment, and a reconstruction!
It also requires a clarification of the social practices that encourage delinquency by suggesting that impunity exists and that there is often a double standard!
It is a vast undertaking, which some of us know well, and which deserves realism, courage and imagination!
The revolt movement of prison staff is legitimate, but it would be illusory to think that it is only a problem of means!
The Masonic approach could help to redefine a more human and pragmatic legal framework to respond to the multiplicity of situations.
What do you think?
Un autre regard sur la prison
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Suivez l'activité de l'association GENEPI
(A l'origine, GENEPI signifiait Groupement Etudiant National d'Enseignement aux Personnes Incarcérées, depuis 2014 seul l'acronyme reste)