18 April, 2014

Scabies inside Angers prison looks impossible to eradicate

Les conditions de vie de la prison d'Angers continuent de défrayer la chronique... extra-judiciaire. La gale s'est propagée dans l'établissement pénitentiaire situé près du centre ville à proximité immédiate de logements sociaux et elle parait, selon le corps médical, impossible à éradiquer. La vétusté de ce bâtiment et son état de délabrement lui laissent-ils un avenir? Est-ce même souhaitable? 

The current life conditions for inmates in the Angers prison are resurfacing while the French justice minister is said to decide, before the end of summer, if that penitenciary facility, built in 1856, more than 158 years ago, will be be renovated, and will remain located close to the city centre, or will be transfered, the current jail being then converted into another use. Scabies, a contagious skin infection, is no longer eradicated in the prison for ten years!

"The issue is not new", reminds in Ouest-France the doctor Clotilde Rougé-Maillard, head of forensics (legal medecine) at the Angers hospital who nevertheless tempers her standpoint : "This is not an epidemic but and an endemic" meaning that the infection is maintained in the penal population because needs for external inputs are not fulfilled. If the age of the prison and its extremely poor state are propicious to the disease, the over-population, and the over-closeness which comes from it, are probably the most likely origins of the infection. Where there are 243 spaces, the number of inmates is 483, an excess soaring around 100%!

Credit Picture : Corinne Bouchoux
All Angers represen-tatives, whatever be their political orientation, and lawyers have for a long time condemned such circumstances, pointed out the emergency to act and submitted a transfer project of the facility from Angers towards Trélazé. The latest medical news give them reason. The prison is surrounded by social housing. The new mayor, Christophe Béchu, included in his platform, and now in his roadmap, the departure of the jail and its transformation in a contemporary art museum.

It is not sure the renovation of the current facility would be the more efficient way to eradicate the scabies endemic and the less costly for the public finances. Moreover, if such a "content" (contemporay art) evokes future, the "containers" (the museum) refers to past. Would the best solution be to make a clean sweep of the past?

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