The conditions of detention, already well deteriorated due to the overcrowding that has been a constant feature of places of deprivation of liberty for several years, are necessarily and unfortunately adversely affected by the health situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. How to implement social distancing, and more broadly, so-called “barrier gestures” (i.e. preventative measures that each individual should take to protect himself/herself and others against COVID-19) in places where the daily life is marked by the proximity between fellow inmates? It is impossible to do so.
Consequently, many requests for release from pretrial detention have been filed with the Liberty and Custody Judge. However, these requests for release have been dismissed. Following the upholding of a dismissal order, one inmate appealed to the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court). On August 19, 2020, the Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cassation issued a ruling that confirmed the dismissal of the request for release.