Friday, November 17, 2006

The Good Life

From Philippe de Villiers' blog entries of November 14, comes this post about the good life in French prisons. Apparently "estates general" refers to the body of prisoners and their advocates:

The Estates General of prisons met yesterday in Paris, three weeks after the publication of the results of an unprecedented inquiry conducted with inmates by the International Observatory of Prisons (a prisoner advocacy group), that has been the thorn in the side of prison administrators. The inmates fully intend to transform this experiment into something tangible. In a few days, each candidate for the presidency will receive the manifesto derived from the results of the questionnaire given to prisoners "so as to arouse a personal commitment". The Estates General are also demanding that a law be voted making it essential to prepare ahead of time for the prisoners' arrival. Putting inmates in a prison close to their home, installing sanitary conditions that respect privacy, allowing daily access to activities, to training and to work...are also some of the priorities of the 58,000 French inmates.

Photo of Tower of London from Fotosearch.


At November 17, 2006 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since 1998 or so (World Cup win was a trigger, perhaps ?) there has been a resurgence of "old" vocabulary to encourage the French to reach back to their "roots".

A lot of groups are having "Etats Généraux", which has now come to mean a big, positive, touchy-feely meeting to preach to the converted, with bells and whistles.

One also encounters "démarche citoyenne" and "comportement citoyen" almost every day, in subjects ranging from picking up dog poop to sorting the trash to paying taxes to integrating minorities.

At November 18, 2006 1:51 AM, Blogger dag said...

I have this image running across my mind's eye, a scene from Zola's Germinal, where the ladies of the mining town chase the store owner as he flees across the rooftops, finally slipping and smashing his head, and then the ugly finale. I see the French elite running across that rooftop. I'm waiting for the fall.

Honestly, how much more can reasonable people stand? How long before those not part of the Etats Genereaux decide to meet in their own cafes and hide-aways to dicuss the reality of the world as they see it? How long till men and women decide things as they are in the REp;;;ublic are intolerable and must comform to a revolutionary revival of Reason? How long before Marat is normal?

At November 18, 2006 9:13 PM, Blogger tiberge said...

@ anonymous

Reaching back to your roots is fine, but isn't using the concept of "Etats Généraux" for prisoners a distortion of the facts? So they're using the concept of "What Makes a Good Citizen" to extend from silly things to actions that will bring down the very Republic that granted citizens rights in the first place!

@ dag

When I first read the article I thought how easy it would be for some guy to bump off everybody he hates, and then go spend the rest of his days (or maybe less than that) in a nice friendly comfy prison! Kinda makes you envy the life of a convict...


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