In the wake of a visit to the Borgo prison center by Deputy La France insoumise Ugo Bernalicis, Corse-Matin was able to access the unit where Pierre Alessandri and Alain Ferrandi will soon be imprisoned and exchange with some of their future fellow prisoners.
On the railing that delimits the sports field, the prisoners have hung ant head flags – lots of ant head flags – and in the middle a banner that says “Sustegnu per Yvan”. At Borgo Prison Service, as we can immediately see, the events that have shaken the island for three weeks have had no less of an impact than outside. Sitting in the sun, three young men are talking. Sports shorts, athletic build (weight machines are nearby), all are part of the detainees imprisoned in “CD1”, one of the two units in the jail. A set of 25 cells, reserved for people who have already been convicted, where Pierre Alessandri and Alain Ferrandi are to serve their sentences from next month, where they are “closed together” in Borgo.
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“I would have preferred them to be liberated”
Ugo Bernalicis, France Insoumise’s deputy from the north, addresses the small group and begins the discussion, soon followed by half a dozen journalists accompanying him. The Member of Parliament, it must be said, is experienced in the exercise. Since the beginning of his term, in 2017, he has visited almost thirty prison institutions throughout the national territory. The exchanges deal with the conditions of detention, the activities offered to the prisoners …
But the news is not long in inviting oneself into the conversation. “We feel misunderstanding and disgust at what happened, explains Alain, 45 years old. How could we allow something like this to happen… Since the day of the attack, in support of Yvan Colonna, we deny the meal trays we are served. A “plateau strike” nurtured by a sense of injustice and indignation very similar to that which the islanders felt outside the prison.
In the carpentry workshop, where two prisoners work on the restoration and manufacture of furniture, the discourse is not much different. “It’s a hard blow, says Thierry, 40, especially since he had been wronged for me. “
Indignant at the murder of Yvan Colonna, how do these prisoners apprehend the impending “return” of the two other protagonists in the Erignac case? “Everyone is waiting for them, everyone is supporting them, Thierry continues. For us, they are emblems. I’m not a nationalist – even though I had an uncle who was – but I think it’s good that they can come back. They’ve had it for a while. The law must be the same for everyone. ” Alain, he might be a little more bitter. “Of course it’s always nice to see countrymen go home, he admits. Things are getting a lot easier for the salons, for their families. But personally, I would have preferred them to be released. “
In addition to well-placed fellow prisoners, Alain Ferrandi and Pierre Alessandri should find decent prison conditions in Borgo. On CD1 – that’s the rule in a detention center – everyone has arrested an individual cell. A room of about 9 square meters equipped with a bathroom, a water point, a television and an induction hob. The furniture is spartan, the concrete floor is clad in a slightly eerie gray shade, but every “occupant” is free to decorate the premises as they see fit – when they can afford it. The showers are collective, but we can not say that they are dilapidated, and above all, they are permanently available.
And then there is what is called the “comfort lock”: each prisoner has the key to his cell and is free to leave whenever he wants during the day. It is also free to access the sports field or “foyer”, a kind of common room where you can cook. “It’s a well-kept house, sums up Philippe, a 66-year-old prisoner. We have a director and a deputy director who do their job well. “
Alain Ferrandi and Pierre Alessandri, who are more than decent premises, even more than relative freedom of movement, should with their return to Corsica find a peaceful atmosphere, protected from the unrest of the Colonna affair. And also in shelter from the difficulties that Corsicans sometimes encounter in the prison world. “I was sitting in a detention center on the continent, Alain explains again. When you are a Corsican, you suffer from a certain racism among the guards and certain prisoners. There are not, as we have heard, groups of anti-Corsican Muslims, but on the other hand, there is individual behavior.
The climate seems calm and Deputy Bernalicis – who does not forget that he is in the country – takes the opportunity to talk about politics. “Who’s voting here?” Almost everyone lifts their finger.
Sex agent Philippe takes the floor: “Personally, I do not vote in the presidential election because, as a Corsican, I do not think they concern me. But if I were to vote, it would be for rebellious France.”
The Folketing draws a smile and answers: “At the 2019 Europeans, we made statistics on voting for the first time in prison: RN came first with 24% and LFI just behind with 21%. At that time I said: There are 24% of prisoners who want to stay in prison and 21% who want to travel.
However, in the case of the two convicts in the Erignac case, the stay in the CD1 unit could only last a few months. Both have filed a request for adjustment of sentence with a view to obtaining a placement on day parity. (read on page 3). If these requests were to succeed, they would no longer reside in custody but in another unit, specifically dedicated to receiving detainees on semi-liberty. A set paradoxically less engaging than CD1. Five cells equipped with individual showers, but lined up along a greyish corridor leading to a sad courtyard. Here, most of the prisoners work outside the prison and only return to their cell in the evenings or only certain evenings depending on the arrangements given to them by the sentencing judge.
“Compared to the jail, we are fewer, and it’s true that we are sometimes a little bored”explains a detainee who is already well advanced in age.
A little boredom for a little freedom … many must dream of it.