Criminal seclusion: definition and methods of execution
Criminal imprisonment is the ordinary criminal offense whose object is the deprivation of liberty of the convicted person.
It therefore applies to all common law crimes, as opposed to criminal detention, incurred for political crimes. We take stock together.
Modalities of criminal imprisonment
Criminal imprisonment: historical aspects
Criminal imprisonment was instituted in 1960 to replace both forced labor and imprisonment.
Before the ordinance of 4 June 1960, imprisonment was the common, grievous and infamous criminal penalty of five to ten years’ duration and was executed in a central house.
Duration of criminal imprisonment
Criminal imprisonment can be perpetual (in perpetuity) or temporary (on time). In other words, in addition to life imprisonment for the most serious crimes, the penalty of criminal imprisonment will be, depending on the seriousness of the crime:
- thirty or more;
- twenty years or less;
- fifteen years old at the most.
In all cases, the duration of criminal imprisonment in time is at least ten years. These rules are set out in Article 131-1 of the Penal Code.
Examples : murder (murder with premeditation or ambush) is punishable by life imprisonment. The murder is punishable by thirty years of criminal imprisonment. Kidnapping or forcible confinement is punishable by twenty years of criminal imprisonment. Rape is punishable by fifteen years of criminal imprisonment.
Criminal imprisonment: execution modalities
The sentence of imprisonment normally runs in a central house or detention center. The central houses are penitentiary establishments where long-term custodial prisoners are sentenced (more than one year).
Detention centers are penal institutions, characterized by a prison regime mainly geared towards social reintegration and, where appropriate, preparation for the release of convicts.
Compatibility in perpetuity with the European Convention on Human Rights
Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) states that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
The Court of Cassation considers that a life sentence is not contrary to this provision since, after a period of thirty years, it can be adjusted (Cass Crim, 20 January 2010).
The European Court of Human Rights shares this analysis: a life sentence is not a problem under Article 3 of the ECHR if it can be re-examined and given a chance to the convicted person. to be released one day (ECHR, 9 July 2013, Vinter and A. v. United Kingdom).
Criminal seclusion and the principle of personalization of sentences
For all crimes, the legislator sets the maximum duration of criminal imprisonment incurred by the offender. The judge is then free to pronounce the duration that he considers the most appropriate to the circumstances of the offense and the personality of the author, and this by virtue of the principle of personalization (or individualization) of the sentences.
Thus, even in criminal cases, the judge can absolutely pronounce a sentence of imprisonment, which is the custodial sentence incurred in principle for misdemeanors, which is a maximum of ten years.
However, Article 132-19 of the Penal Code sets minimum penalties in criminal cases. Thus, a court of assizes (which judges the perpetrators of crimes) can not pronounce, against a criminal of which it recognized the guilt, a sentence inferior to:
- one year’s imprisonment when time imprisonment is incurred;
- two years imprisonment where life imprisonment is incurred.
Let’s deepen the subject together:
- Model letter: make complaint for kidnapping.
- Appointment to the Court of Appeal to challenge a court decision.
- Free download: our practical guide to justice.