Monday, November 21, 2011

Resignation or Indifference?

Elsewhere anxiety about threats to France's AAA rating fill the headlines, and even in France the CAC40 dropped sharply on the news, but the media are obsessed with the rape and murder of an unfortunate lycéenne by a recidivist classmate and seem to have discounted the financial news. Fillon is promising henceforth to incarcerate all youthful sex offenders in reform schools, but this forceful response seems, as always with the Sarkozy government, to mistake the nature of the problem:

Enfin, de l'étude sur les viols que nous avons pilotée avec Véronique Le Goaziou, nous pouvons ajouter que, étudiant les viols jugés aux assises dans trois département (Paris, Versailles et le Gard - justement) durant les années 2000, nous avons dépouillé 425 dossiers impliquant 488 auteurs et 566 victimes. Sur ces 425 viols, seuls 2 avaient été suivis de meurtre. Et l'un des deux violeurs-tueurs était un mineur (dont il n'était du reste pas absolument certain qu'il s'agissait d'un viol et pour lequel il n'y avait pas de situation de récidive). Au total, sur une période de presque dix ans et sur 3 départements, nous avons donc trouvé en tout et pour tout 1 seul cas correspondant un peu à la situation sous analyse.
In short, there are tragedies that governments can do something about, and others sadly beyond their power to prevent.


Cincinna said...

This is a case where government, and the legal system could have done something to prevent this, and can do something to change it in the future.

When you have a culture that does not punish violent criminal sexual offenders, that gives a convicted rapist a four month jail sentence, then puts him back into the general population where he us almost certain to be a repeat offender, this is what happens.

Sometimes these "fait divers" dominate the news because they really touch people, and highlight a societal cultural problem that hits home with people. Not everyone is a political junkie.

Anonymous said...

He wasn't a convicted rapist, he hadn't been judged yet, due to the court's backload, which may well be part of the problem - going for slack judges while reducing their number is surely better for this government than discussing the financial situation.


Anonymous said...

displacement activity.... at its worst.

Anonymous said...

There's also something jarring in the image of a violent offender attending a prestigious boarding school founded on ideals of internationalism and peaceful conflict resolution, to honor ordinary citizens who sheltered Jewish children during WWII.

I'm both with Cincinna and Mélanie on this:
France doesn't seem to consider rape a very serious crime (in terms of sentencing - on the books, it IS a crime; but think of the reactions back in May to get the general view). There don't seem to be rape shield laws for example. AND there is such a lack of funds for the judicial system that there aren't enough employees to process suspects or apply the sentence. I think it was a judge from Bobigny who said there was a 12 to 18 MONTH delay between conviction and sentencing/sentence application because there had been such huge cuts that whoever remained couldn't process the files. Some of the convicted felons were thus free to roam and terrorize their neighborhood (others were in détention préventive.)

So the government CAN do things:
- train the police and the legal courts about sex offenses
- use some of that debt money to hire hundreds of court clerks and parole officers

What the government wants to do, of course, is completely pointless.