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Reception of New Arrivals at the Fleury-Merogis Prison - An Original Structure - The Reception Center - Description and First Analysis

NCJ Number
Revue de science criminelle et de droit penal compare Issue: 3 Dated: (July-September 1978) Pages: 379-385
M Fize
Date Published
7 pages
A new reception center for all incoming inmates has been established at France's Fleury-Merogis prison, which is proving to facilitate prisoner placement and to individualize prison-inmate relations.
The center was established as one response to certain administrative constraints inherent in the old system, where prisoners arrived at all hours and dispersed to various corners of the institution, rendering it difficult for staff and concentrated attention on planning for each inmate. The center allows for extensive interviews with medical, social, and prison representatives to discover the offender's background, family history, personal problems, educational aspirations, and sentence expectations (in terms of early release). These talks take place within the first 24 to 48 hours after the inmates' arrival, as they must be placed within 2 days. Educators' interviews appear to be very useful in that they distinguish which offenders are looking for an educational or training program identify those offenders who should be referred for immediate probation. Medical interviews allow doctors and psychiatrists to identify suicide-prone individuals, an opportunity which has actually cut the number of suicides among new arrivals at Fleury-Merogis. Moreover, those with physical illnesses can be placed into infirmaries or hospitals immediately, thereby preventing spreading disease or sickness to other inmates, and to refer those who need special psychological treatment to an appropriate center. As the staff comes to know each new arrival, they can discover in which section of the prison to place inmates according to dangerousness. The reception center acts as a facilitator for placement, a chance for offenders to express their desires and hopes for their time in imprisonment, and for the staff to prepare adequately for each inmates' program. In the process, the possibility for improved inmate-institution relations is vastly increased. Six footnotes are provided. --in French.


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