It is a tweet that has not been forgotten.
On November 3, 2015, Nicolas Sarkozy wrote on the blue bird social network: "I hope that there will be no sentence adjustment measures for sentences greater than 6 months".
This sentence, from an interview with Le Parisien and published that day, has returned to the heart of the news since the announcement of the sentence of the former President of the Republic to three years in prison, one of which closes in part of the wiretapping case.
I would like there to be no sentence adjustment measures for sentences greater than 6 months #NSParisien
- Nicolas Sarkozy (@NicolasSarkozy) November 3, 2015
At the time of this interview, the former President of the Republic was questioned about the judicial policy of his successor, François Hollande.
And his speech was as follows: “We must urgently give back to the State the capacity to face delinquency, and in particular that of repeat offenders.
[...] The automatic reductions of sentences will be abolished, because a system in which a convicted person does only a small part of his prison sentence is not dissuasive.
And I want there to be no sentence adjustment measures for sentences greater than six months (Editor's note: electronic bracelets, semi-liberty).
My determination is simple: any sentence imposed must be carried out.
An "error" admitted from time to time
However, as our journalists reminded him, it was when he was head of state that the law on the adjustment of sentences was relaxed.
“I admit that our measure was not good and I draw the consequences.
The signal given of the non-application of penalties is disastrous for the Republic and the authority of the State ”, he replied then.
An “error” that he had already admitted during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he demanded that any sentence, beyond a year, be executed.
In 2015, while trying to revive Les Républicains, Nicolas Sarkozy again put forward the idea of restricting sentence reductions.
This time, he even proposed removing this possibility for sentences exceeding six months.
Conviction of Nicolas Sarkozy: a historic first and political aftershocks
But in fact, it is under Nicolas Sarkozy that the arrangement of sentences was the most extended.
In March 2004, while he was Minister of the Interior, a first text in this direction was adopted.
It was about the law “adapting justice to the evolutions of the criminality”.
Against a backdrop of prison overcrowding, it allowed sentence enforcement judges to pronounce sentence adjustments in order to avoid imprisonment, with the use of an electronic bracelet, for example.
This law defined that the judge could decide on the accommodation during a summons after the conviction or ex officio, at the time of requisitions, within the framework of a sentence “equal to or less than one year of imprisonment”.
The 2009 relaxation
But it was in 2009, when Nicolas Sarkozy was at the head of the country, that the sentence arrangement was widest.
At that time, the overcrowding of the prisons was catastrophic.
The phenomenon was even described as "shame for the Republic" by the president.
The prison law of 24 November 2009 therefore provided for a remedy.
First, with a broadening of the criteria of potential beneficiaries.
While it was necessary to justify "either the exercise of a professional activity, or of his attendance at a vocational education or training or even of an internship or a temporary job with a view to his social integration, or of his essential participation in the life of his family, or the need to undergo medical treatment "to be able to be concerned in 2004, the law of 2009 also allowed people" looking for a job "or providing proof of" the existence of serious social rehabilitation efforts ”to be concerned.
The 2009 text also encouraged much more than the previous one to rely on this device.
He specified: "a sentence of imprisonment without suspension can only be pronounced as a last resort" but if it is pronounced, "the prison sentence must, if the personality and the situation of the condemned allow it, and except material impossibility , be the subject of one of the development measures ”.
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But above all, the penitentiary law of November 24, 2009 extended the possibility of an accommodation to people sentenced to two years in prison - or one year for repeat offenders - while this device previously only concerned sentences of less than one year.
The text also specified that, for violent or sexual offenses, psychological expertise on the risks of recidivism was necessary.
Taubira fails to get back on it
In 2014, Christiane Taubira, then Minister of Justice, tried to reverse this law by reducing the threshold to one year in prison - or 6 months for repeat offenders.
If the National Assembly had voted for, the law of August 15, 2014 had returned from the Senate amputated of this measure, since the elected officials of the Upper House had held to maintain at two years in prison the threshold for a possible adjustment of sentence.
It is only very recently, in 2019, that this device has seen a turn of the screw, with the programming law and reform for justice. If the text prohibits the pronouncement of firm prison sentences of less than or equal to one month and introduces the adjustment "in principle" of sentences from one to six months, it also provides for limiting "to only sentences of less than one year" the possibility of an adaptation measure, so that "the execution in penitentiary establishments of sentences exceeding one year will become systematic". It thus returns, on this aspect in any case, on the law of 2009 passed under Nicolas Sarkozy.