The essentials This is an extraordinary building that will see the light of day in Nîmes (Gard) in 2027: the President of Nîmes Métropole, Franck Proust, has announced the imminent construction of a 700-place prison in the Gard prefecture in the United States come. The aim: to combat overcrowding in prisons.
A new 700-place prison was to be built on a wasteland between the parishes of Nîmes, Milhaud and Générac (Gard), while the current Nîmes prison has been breaking records for overcrowding for years with more than 190% of the occupation. “This large-scale public facility, which will be the prison, will not impair the economic viability of the area, but rather promote it!”, Franck Proust, President of Nîmes Métropole, assured the project on the site on Tuesday. Prison coupled with the development of the 22nd economic zone in the Nîmes metropolitan area. “The possibility of setting up the remand prison on the Ocvia platform will give this area a new meaning and attractiveness that creates jobs,” added Frédéric Touzellier, First President of Nîmes Métropole and Mayor of Générac.
Previously used for agriculture, the site served as the base for the company, which built the Nîmes-Montpellier bypass between 2015 and 2019. Currently, this 71 hectare area is located in a wasteland at the intersection of this Nîmes bypass. -Montpellier and Nîmes -Le Grau du Roi railway line. Work worth 150 million euros is planned for a location that is to create 300 to 350 jobs.
Prison density of 119.4% in French remand prisons
The location of the future new Gard prison has been the subject of controversy in recent years. Former seal keeper Nicole Belloubet appeared to have ruled in favor of the department’s second town, Alès, which had caused an outcry in Nîmes, the department’s capital and seat of the court of appeal and the most important judicial tribunal. Opponents of the Alesian project particularly emphasized the time and security problems involved in transporting prisoners and the difficult access for families.
In 2021, the government finally announced as part of its “15,000-place plan” that the 700 new places would be built on the Gard in Nîmes. According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, French prisons counted 62,673 prisoners on January 1, 2021.
Prison density is 119.4% in pre-trial prisons, which hold prisoners awaiting trial and those who have received short sentences. It is greater than or equal to 120% in around a third of the establishments and 193% in Nîmes.