Monday, December 10, 2012

Abolishing Extended Sentences

French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira has announced that a new law is being drawn up to abolish extended sentences of criminals. The extension of a prison sentence, without a new trial, on grounds that to release the offender would present a danger to society, is called "rétention de sûreté". I first heard about the practice back in 2008 when the Sarkozy administration made it law. Then it seemed patently unfair to hold someone after he had completed his term, and that a better solution was to give longer prison sentences.  But in France, a hardened criminal, guilty of murder, or multiple rapes, etc… may receive a maximum of twenty-two years. He is then released, if not before, and once again becomes a danger to society unless he is "retained" in prison by court decree. In other words, "life" in prison is twenty-two years.

Unfair though it may be to hold someone without a new trial, it is better than letting him loose to commit more crimes. And yet, that is what Christiane Taubira intends to do, with the approval of François Hollande who had made this one of his campaign promises. Nations Presse has a short article:

It was one of Hollande's campaign promises: to abolish minimum sentences for repeat offenders, to abolish criminal courts for minors, and to abolish the law on extended sentences. Christiane Taubira is now turning it into a reality. On the occasion of Prison-Justice Day, Saturday December 8, sponsored by GENEPI (a student-run association that promotes the education of prisoners), she announced that a law was being drawn up to abolish extended sentences. "I confirm that it will be abolished, like the minimum sentences, and the juvenile criminal courts," declared the Keeper of the Seals.

(…) After her announcement former Prime Minister François Fillon denounced the "laxness" of the minister of Justice. But didn't laxness characterize the actions of the UMP government?

From 2002 to 2011, violent crimes against persons increased 45%. Drug trafficking, rapes, burglaries, thefts, burned cars, urban rioting all increased. Since 2007, the UMP government reduced by three thousand jobs a year the forces of the police and the gendarmes, and numerous police headquarters are now closed evenings or week-ends. Sarkozy and the UMP government who intended to clean up the lawless zones with a "power hose" kept none of their campaign promises and caved in to the ideological dictates of the Left. The UMPS is the party of laxness!

Note: In the United States extended sentences without a new trial by jury were made illegal by several Supreme Court decisions, although there may be exceptions made in the cases of terrorists.

As readers point out, Mme Taubira is a real danger to the people:

- Mme Taubira must be afflicted with an incurable disease: don't harm thieves, rapists, killers… Yet she has no thoughts for those who are victims or for the police who try to do their work. Perhaps she should seek care after all, she is becoming very dangerous!!!

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At December 11, 2012 5:10 AM, Anonymous eah said...

Hard to feel sorry for the French -- they voted these people in.

It was one of Hollande's campaign promises: to abolish minimum sentences for repeat offenders, to abolish criminal courts for minors, and to abolish the law on extended sentences.

Since they were "campaign promises", I assume they were stated openly. So voters presumably knew what they were voting for.

At December 11, 2012 7:46 AM, Blogger tiberge said...

@ eah,

I agree with you. The once-tough French judicial system has become (in part due to the EU directives) an experiment in coddling criminals. Most attempts, in the United States, to rehabilitate criminals, especially murderers and sex offenders, have failed. In France, as far as I can tell, there are psychologists and court-appointed functionaries that monitor the criminals who have been released. They also use those electronic ankle bracelets. But these people are almost never rehabilitated. Several years ago a young Catholic girl was stabbed 35 times and killed on the Paris regional subway by a Turk who had been released from prison on sexual assault charges. I was shocked when I learned that Youssef Fofana, the African immigrant that murdered a Jewish boy, Ilan Halimi, in 2006 would receive the "life" sentence of 22 years. Now they can't even extend this sentence.

Yes, the French do vote for these people. The Front National is the only party that talks honestly about crime, but it has never really had a chance to prove itself.

The EU mentality is that we must not harm criminals. Apparently they are precious cargo to the EU. This is one of many complete reversals of our basic laws, our basic vision of humanity and our basic morality. From "punish the criminal!" we now have "punish the victim!"


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