Prison guards from Charente and Charente-Maritime demonstrate after the attack on a prison van

There had not been such a bloody attack on a prison van in France for 32 years. So the death of two agents Tuesday morning, in the attack on their vehicle by an armed commando, leaves the profession of guards in shock. This Wednesday morning, throughout France, demonstrations are taking place in central prisons and remand centers. This is the case in Angoulême and Saint-Martin-de-Ré.

“We are chronically understaffed”

At the central prison of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, around forty guards are gathered in front of the entrance to the site to express their sadness and anger. Ludovic Lillo is the local secretary of the FO Justice union. It testifies : “We are stunned by this news. Our colleagues were killed at point blank range, like dogs. How is it possible that this happens in our country?”

It is also an opportunity to demand more human resources to supervise the inmates of the central prison of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. “Insecurity is growing because we are chronically understaffed, launches Ludovic Lillo, In Saint-Martin-de-Re, 37 supervisors are missing. To this we must add hellish work rhythms, working staggered hours.” He testifies that the 130 agents of the team are exhausted. A minute of silence was observed at 11 a.m. in tribute to their killed and injured colleagues.

Late Tuesday morning, two officers were killed in an attack on a van. Three others are seriously injured. It happened at the exit of the Incarville tollbooth, in Eure. The prisoner on board escaped. Since then, the police have been tracking him and his accomplices.

Emotion in Angoulême

In Angoulême, around sixty people gathered Wednesday morning, in front of the doors of the remand center. Supervisors on rest or on leave, joined by retired colleagues wishing to express their solidarity. “I saw the images of the attack on social networks, I cried, testifies Laure Benoît, local secretary of UFAP. This is extremely shocking. We didn’t give our colleagues any chance. Such violence is unbearable.”*

Around sixty people mobilized in front of the Angoulême remand center.
Cedric Raymond

Inside Angoulême prison, inmate activities were canceled for the day. On the other hand, visiting rooms with families are maintained. The prefect of Charente visited the site to attend the minute of silence organized at 11 a.m.

RN MP Caroline Colombier also visited the site. The opportunity for staff representatives to remind them of the daily difficulties. “In June, we will have around ten vacancies out of around forty,” calculates the deputy local secretary of the UFAP Jean-François Bel. Knowing that the prison currently accommodates 220 inmates for 190 places. “We operate constantly with 20 or 30 mattresses on the floor” laments Jean-François Bel.

At the Angoulême remand center, 20 to 30 mattresses are permanently placed on the floor in the cells, to cope with prison overcrowding.
At the Angoulême remand center, 20 to 30 mattresses are permanently placed on the floor in the cells, to cope with prison overcrowding.
Cedric Raymond
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