Canada: Ugo Bernalicis: "Preventing prisoners from having the Internet is a major brake on their reintegration"

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A la prison de Villefranche-sur-Saône, en 2021. © Olivier Chassignol at Villefranche-sur-Saône prison, in 2021.

in a letter addressed this Wednesday to the Prime Minister, more than 600 signatories request the establishment of internet access in penal establishments, denouncing "a digital fracture" for the 71,000 detained people. "At the end of 2020, the Senate’s information mission on the fight against illecronism and digital inclusion described this situation as“ double penalty ”for those deprived of freedom," recalls the missive. Far from being anecdotal, connection to the Internet in prison appears as "Primordial [e] to recognize detainees as subjects of law, limit the social exclusion caused by imprisonment and facilitate the return to free life", is still written. Among the signatories are managers of associations, actors of the penitentiary and judicial world, and several deputies including Ugo Bernalicis, of Insoumise , which explains the challenges of this mobilization campaign.

DRC: Activities paralyzed with Goma to denounce the presence of the M23

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What rules do internet access today in French penal establishments?

There is no law prohibiting the use of the Internet for detained persons. The prohibition has simply become a standard, listed in the internal regulations of penal establishments. Fixed phones have been deployed in cells [since the renovation of the health prison in Paris, in 2019, with pre -recorded numbers authorized by justice, editor's note] but mobile phones are still prohibited. We are in a vision of the hermetic prison, closed, where the security takes precedence over everything else. All this is very hypocritical because heaps of prisoners manage to bring smartphones and connect to it.

Why is it important that detained people can have access to an internet connection?

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 This Thursday, September 29, Daniel Riolo created the controversy in the show " Estelle Midi "by calling prisoners as" sub-citizens ". Present on the set of TPMP, his partner Géraldine Maillet defeated, notably against Matthieu Delormeau, Beatrice Rosen and Gilles Verdez. © C8 This Thursday, September 29, Daniel Riolo created the controversy in the program "Estelle Midi" by calling the prisoners as "sub-citizens".

At least, a lot of people can find themselves on its necessity in prisons to be able to carry out the procedures for access to the rights which today are almost entirely digitized. I think for example of a foreign detainee, who would like to regularize his situation. The appointment at the prefecture is only on the Internet. If we are coherent on the discourse consisting in saying that deprivation of freedom should not deprive other rights, we must guarantee this minimum access. There is also a training issue: how to be trained in the exercise of professions that today use the Internet today without having access to it? When we do a training that does not correspond to what is happening in the real world, it limits the field of our skills and our capacity for reintegration.

Next, detainees must be able to benefit from from leisure activities . They must be able to watch a video, read the press ... Behind all of this, there is a goal: people who come out of prison must be the least desocialized as possible. The Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, still recalled Tuesday in committee the three missions of the prison: to sanction the person who committed the offense, to protect society from dangerous people, to reintegrate the person in society to Do not recur. But preventing detainees from having internet access is a major obstacle to their reintegration. It marginalizes them, it disconnects, literally, from life "after".

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What about possible security risks, the main argument for the internet ban in prison?

What risks are we talking about? Of a computer attack that would open up the doors of the prison? Many fantasies surround the subject, the same as that of mobile phones. We fear that some detainees can put pressure on the outside. But the reality is that those who want to continue their business outside are already doing very well, with lots of different means. However, the prison administration has the ability to go in stages, to set up firewalls on certain sites since it exists ... For fixed cell phones, prisoners have a limited number of numbers, validated by the justice. So when you balance between the real security problems that could generate access and the problems that its absence currently generates on access to rights and prevention of recurrence, the calculation is quickly done: you have to set up a Internet connection.

DRC: KALEV MUTOND, ex-head of information, returns to the country and asks for forgiveness from its victims .
© VOA CC0 Charly Kaseraka Kalev Mutond, the former general administrator of the ANR in Goma, January 25, 2017. It was believed for a moment in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Togo or Congo-Brazzaville. Kalev Mutond, former boss of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR), is back in the DRC, a country he had left last year, fearing his arrest.

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