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Inside Meaux Prison
March 3, 2017
by Paolo Pellegrin
Feature - Inside Meaux PrisonPaolo PellegrinAs of January 1st 2017, 78,796 people are in penal custody in France, of which 68,432 are serving prison terms. These figures represent an increase of 2.6% detainees since January 2016 (66,678). Prisons are currently overcrowded as the facilities are only designed to house 58,681 inmates.*
These figures are among the worst in Europe, frequently being noted by the Council of Europe.

With overcrowding, structural obsolescence, and poor inmate living conditions, the French penitentiary administration is facing the consequences of the declaration of the Emergency State, an exceptional law imposed by the government following the November 2015 terror attacks, which allows authorities to restrict liberties for the sake of national security.


In November 2016, Paolo Pellegrin photographed Meaux Penitentiary Center, constructed near Paris in 2001. With unprecedented access to inmates incarcerated there, his story provides a unique look at the French penal system.


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