“it’s becoming untenable” denounce prison guards

“it’s becoming untenable” denounce prison guards
“it’s becoming untenable” denounce prison guards

Action by prison guards is underway at Metz-Queuleu prison in Moselle this Monday, May 6. More than fifty agents denounce a glaring lack of staff in the establishment where insecurity is very real.

Prison guards are suffering, a situation which is not new but which seems to be getting worse. It was to denounce their working conditions linked to a lack of personnel that 55 agents blocked the Metz-Queuleu prison this Monday, May 6, 2024, from 6:30 a.m.

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47 prison supervisor positions will be vacant by the end of 2024 at Metz-Queuleu prison.

© Emmanuel André, France Télévisions

Eighteen supervisory positions are currently vacant in the prison, which has 240 in total.

We arrive with a knot in our stomach but we have no right to make mistakes, we feel wronged, without support

Nordine Aitameur, prison guard in Metz-Queuleu

For the agents gathered this Monday morning in an inter-union meeting, the establishment would actually need 30 supervisors. Across the Grand Est, 230 prison officers are missing.

The lack of staff places the workload on the agents present, as Nordine Aitameur, UFAP union delegate in Metz, explains to Myriam Mannhart:

Some mornings, there are up to 13 fewer agents, it’s a catastrophic situation, we are playing with our security and our missions are not done correctly, we want to make ourselves heard to have reinforcement, to block the prison this morning , it’s our only way”, he said.

Because for agents, the stress is very real:

We arrive with a lump in our stomach, it’s an additional factor of fatigue when we are alone to do one round rather than three, we provide more work for the same salary and we have no room for error, the mental load accumulates, we feel wronged without support“, continues Nordine Aitameur.

Tensions with detainees are also increased:

There is a lack of supervisors to meet the needs of prisoners for showers, canteen accounts or to take them to the visiting room, for example. They are fed up and this creates additional tensions. In the event of a problem, there is also a lack of supervisors to intervene.“, explains Karim Aberkane, CGT delegate on site.

The trigger for the uproar: the mobility milestone for the month of April which does not provide for any new positions for the Metz prison.

At the end of the year, with retirements, we will be at least 47 agents, it is untenable, denounces Franck Rassel, FO general secretary for the Grand Est, the supervisors are above 108 hours per quarter, it becomes impossible to combine professional and personal life“.

The still manageable overpopulation in Metz-Queuleu could also worsen in the coming months:

With the Olympics approaching, the Parisian prison population will be dispersed in the surrounding areas and the Grand Est will be affected since for the moment overpopulation is minimal compared to other regions.“, specifies the secretary general of the region. From 130% last year, the population of Metz prison increased to 140% this year.

Overpopulation, a chronic evil in France. In 2023, the Court of Auditors estimated the number of prisoners in France at 75,000 for 60,000 places and thereby denounced the failure of all regulatory measures for twenty years.

For its part, the management of the Metz-Queuleu prison understands the movement but it is the prison administration which recruits the agents, an administration which must face a lack of volunteers for an engaging and difficult profession.

Prison guards hope for the arrival of new agents in the next movement.

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