Éric Dupond-Moretti and Roselyne Bachelot create the “Goncourt detainees” prize for people incarcerated in French prisons


A Goncourt prize exclusively reserved for inmates of French prisons. This is the initiative taken by the Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti and the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, who announced the creation of a new literary prize, the “Goncourt des inmates”. This prize aims to reward the effort of writing in the prison environment and contributes to better social integration while encouraging reflection on oneself and others. Éric Dupond-Moretti and Roselyne Bachelot have also declared that a great involvement in a cultural activity in prison will now be able to promote reductions in sentences.

The Keeper of the Seals and Roselyne Bachelot announced the news on Monday March 14 during an outing to the Aix-Luynes remand center in the Bouches-du-Rhône. They took the floor to specify the terms of the competition: “The fifteen works selected by the Goncourt Academy will be proposed for deliberation and votes by prisoners in 30 penitentiary establishments who will have applied. On December 15, the winner will be revealed”. “This initiative brings together two worlds wrongly considered to be distant, that of literary creation and that of the prison universe”, added Roselyne Bachelot who highlighted “the intimate link between certain masterpieces of literature and the drama of detention” and cited as an example the writer Jean Genet, who spent time in prison for, among other things, stealing books. “It’s an ambitious project which aims to make prisoners interested in literature” in order to “reintegrate them into the social body”, added Éric Dupond-Moretti. As for its secretary Philippe Claudel, he said that “the Goncourt Academy is delighted to be able to join this project, modeled on the Goncourt des Lycéens which has existed since 1988”.

This announcement was followed by the signing of a new protocol aimed at promoting culture in prison. A first protocol had already been signed in 1986 and another in 2009. “The new protocol reaffirms the will to offer prisoners a real cultural programme, with the possibility of taking part in it and expressing themselves artistically. It strives to promote the cultural offer for minors, reaffirms the importance of cultural training for prison staff, workers and detainees”, affirmed Roselyne Bachelot before adding: “It also sets out the desire to to weave closer links between the inside and the outside and inscribes the need to equip all penitentiary establishments with spaces adapted to cultural practices: places for showing films, shows…”. The Minister of Culture specified that “a survey co-financed by the Ministries of Culture and Justice will make it possible to draw up an inventory of the existing cultural spaces and to formalize recommendations”.

Éric Dupond-Moretti then recalled that “culture is a vector of personal enhancement, of school, professional and social integration. It can be considered as an element that gives meaning to the sentence in a perspective of prevention of recidivism”. The Keeper of the Seals concluded by announcing that “participation in cultural activities in prison, involvement in particular in reading and writing” could, if accompanied by good behavior, promote reductions in sentences.

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Source- https://www.gqmagazine.fr/pop-culture/article/eric-dupond-moretti-et-roselyne-bachelot-creent-le-prix-goncourt-des-detenus-pour-les-personnes-incarcerees-dans-les-prisons-francaises