Release, application of the law of April 8, 2021, conditions of detention: Marie-Katell Kaigre, lawyer at the Nouméa bar, guest of the morning

Can the release of a detainee last week, thanks to the law of April 8, 2021, convince other detainees to file an appeal via their lawyer before the judge of freedoms and detention? Marie-Katell Kaigre, corresponding lawyer in New Caledonia of the International Observatory of Prisons (OIP) explains it. She was the guest of the morning of Wednesday July 20, 2022.

This is a rare occurrence in New Caledonia. Last week, one inmate was released. Thanks to the law of April 8, 2021, he benefited from an appeal from his lawyer. His conditions of incarceration at Camp-Est were judged “unworthy”. “In France, these are decisions expected at the national level”assures Me Marie-Katell Kaigre, lawyer of the bar of Nouméa. “This law has been applicable since October”.

But is this law an open door to other detainees who will want, through their lawyer, to lodge an appeal before the judge of freedoms and detention? For the lawyer, this reform concerns two types of prisoners. “There are those who are at the start of their sentence and those who are at the end of their sentence. It therefore does not allow mass releases”.

This law tends to guarantee the right to respect for dignity. The person, even released, remains subject to strict judicial control pending his judgment. Thus, recourse is defined according to several criteria. “The judge will allow the administration to justify the conditions of detention. He can go there to see the reality”says Me Kaigre. “But it is difficult to implement”, insists the lawyer. The objective of this reform is to obtain corrective measures in Camps-Est.

For a little over ten years, the International Observatory of Prisons (OIP) has been monitoring the Camps-Est file and the difficult conditions of the prisoners. Its objective is to clearly unclog the prisons.

Today the way in the prison is managed, it is a problem

For the OIP, it is necessary to invest in support. “Why spend so much money on rapidly deteriorating prison places?”asks Maire-Katell Kaigre, who is the OIP correspondent in New Caledonia. “On top of that, they’re overcrowded. [Il faut, NDLR] Rather invest in support, in a psychiatric diagnosis [des détenus]for example as soon as they enter”. The cost of detaining a person today is 3.5 million CFP francs per year.

The full interview can be found here.

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