With more than 69,000 prisoners, equivalent to one French resident in a thousand, France still holds one of the highest custodial rates in Europe. This situation is made worse by the lack of space in prisons, leading to alarming overcrowding in prisons, which reaches 150% of occupancy depending on the establishments. Overcrowding that generates violence and tensions, old and insalubrious cells, poor hygiene and a lack of activities are some of the problems prisoners face daily.
In such an environment, how can inmates best be supported to prepare for leaving prison and reclaiming their place in society? How can greater social inclusion and poverty be avoided, as well as the risk of repeat offenses over the long term? The data shows that 63% of those leaving prison with no appropriate support re-offend in the five years following their release. Very often, this concerns young people with no resources or education, suffering from addiction. They leave prison even more vulnerable and mentally damaged, without any solutions for their future, all for the lack of support during custody.
In order to break the spiral that turns prison into an accelerator for social failure and marginalization, Fondation de France has mobilized via the Prisons Program since 2013. Its aim is to improve inmates’ chances of successful social reintegration – a goal that is in everyone’s best interest! To that end, Fondation de France commits over time to prisoners or those with alternative sentences, to help them build a new life for themselves. Cross-cutting support incorporates access to training, employment, housing and healthcare for those serving a sentence. It also encourages lasting family links, which is key to keeping their place in society and their role as a parent.
For more global support and better coordination, the program has also introduced an innovative approach, by creating a community of stakeholders involved in these issues, from the world of criminal justice, rehabilitation, detention and training. This new cooperation model serving rehabilitation will enable the various players to take collective action, to pool skills and share best practices, so as to provide inmates with appropriate monitoring.
In 2021, the Fondation de France Prisons Program supported 24 projects totaling more than 500,000 euros. The same approach has led dozens of donor-advised funds to mobilize, including the Valentin Ribet Foundation and Un Monde par Tous (One World for Everyone) Foundation.
FIND OUT MORE