In Valenciennes, the announcement of a new prison which is timely for Eric Dupond-Moretti

The Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, at the Elysee Palace, May 24, 2023.

It is a keeper of the seals who arrived in Valenciennes, sub-prefecture of the North, Friday, June 23, to announce the construction of a new penitentiary establishment in this city where the current prison is nicknamed “the wreck” or ” colander “. At 1er May, it was 142% overcrowded. In Hauts-de-France, it is one of the worst situations after Béthune (195%) and Longuenesse (169.4%), in Pas-de-Calais, and Amiens (156.3%).

Guillaume Pottier, regional delegate of UFAP-Justice, the majority union among supervisors, had heard neither noises nor rumors. It’s very unusual. Jérémy Jeanniot, for Force Ouvrière, was not on the scent either: “We were in a meeting on Monday [19 juin] on real estate projects, we were told absolutely nothing. »

To make public the commissioning by 2027 of a 700-seat establishment, Eric Dupond-Moretti was alongside the mayor of Valenciennes, Laurent Degallaix, and David Barjon, the director general of the Public Agency for the real estate of justice. Mr. Barjon scrolled through his PowerPoint presentation without dwelling on the details. Facing them, in addition to the press, a small embly of magistrates, the president of the bar, executives from the regional prison administration, the sub-prefect. Some elected environmentalists in the area, worried about the impact of this new prison on the artificialization of the soil (15 to 17 hectares of land area), wanted to hear the minister, they were turned away at the entrance.


A few days before the opening, on July 3, of the extraordinary session of Parliament, which will examine in particular the justice orientation and programming billwe felt an urgency on the part of the minister to come and affirm here that “Emmanuel Macron’s promise to build 15,000 prison places by the end of his five-year term will be kept”. His statement was accompanied by a defense of his own Place Vendôme record: increase in the justice budget, recruitment of staff, “doubling of the budget devoted to renovations in prisons compared to François Hollande’s five-year term” – including 5 million euros recorded over five years for the very dilapidated current prison of Valenciennes.

“The report of the controller of places of deprivation of liberty has just come out and it is incendiary on prison overcrowding”recalls a magistrate of the court of Valenciennes, for whom “This announcement is obviously timely. The Keeper of the Seals has just spoken to the Law Commission and is defending his programming law in July. The redesign will not take long. » However, he acknowledges “the desire to inscribe this new prison in its region in stone, before it is too late”.

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