Nîmes: the alarming increase in juvenile delinquency


That morning, in front of his son, a mother, red eyes, can not contain her tears. Nimes before the courthouse, she talks quietly with the father and child “that has made big mistakes, she says. Our life has stopped. We did not expect to have all these problems, we say we are bad parents. “

in addition, a sum mom her son via cell phone, to join quickly. “I run after him, he is at an age where it ignites within minutes.” The young person just arrive in time to attend the hearing, jogging and tennis at the foot, the relatively disinterested by events. “I need you to tile you yours,” casually said the lawyer. Another does not understand why it was called. “I am accused of theft but that’s not me.” His mother sighs. They came by bus to Nîmes for a visibly familiar scenario: waiting, audience, and again the wait. “We usually.” The teenager is not at its first convocation.


Patrick Bottero, deputy prosecutor for minors .

What is the profile of juvenile offenders?

the 10-13 years are at the margin, are observed on small facts. Our problem concerns minors aged 13 to 16 years with a significant risk of recurrence.

To what sort of facts?

sometimes very serious Facts . There are regular acts committed with violence that may be subject to detention. And sometimes a placement in a closed educational center.

Prior to the Offering, what are the penalties?

We can not prosecute everyone of same way. For one fact we can provide an answer to educational purposes, remedial measures or reminders to law. This is often accompanied by an educator. In 90% of cases, we start with that kind of response. For repeat offenders, a hearing before the juvenile judge determines the penalty, as an investment in closed or reinforced educational center.

Is it effective? Have you not observed recurrence after passage in a detention center?

We do not have statistics, but there may be runaways and there the minor risk detention.

There is a sense that justice impresses?

I do not think so. The incarceration for 13-16 years is very difficult to live. But some have made so much to their credit that they are shielded from procedures. Whether minors can have a sense of greater impunity, it always catches up with them.

In January and February, 68 miners brought

Every Monday at the courthouse, are conducted hearings in juvenile court (TPE) Nimes. Miners are coming with their parents. mandatory private session for these teenagers, to get up before the juvenile judge, committed serious facts. The prosecution of minors, activity is increasing. In early January, the prosecutor Laura Beccuau, former magistrate in charge of the parquet minor in Bobigny, pulled itself the alarm: 174 miners brought in 2015 twice in 2013. The same year, the 2000 custody registered in police station, 1000 involved minors. In policy area, in the main cities of Gard, 70% of robberies with violence are committed by minors …

the beginning of the year starts on the same rate: 68 miners brought in nothing January and February. It’s almost the figure is over a year in Avignon and Carpentras (76 in one year). “At Nimes, and more generally in the Gard, there is the specificity of a very strong presence in juvenile delinquency, says Patrick Bottero, deputy prosecutor for minors. With case multirécidivants, those that concern us most. “juvenile delinquency, both as regards risk children (a third of the prosecution activity) that young offenders, is highly regulated. The subject, delicate and sensitive has become a priority Laure Beccuau who referred the case to the Assistant Attorney Compan Véronique and Patrick Bottero. Since January, a permanently dedicated to procedures concerning minor and within the family business is in place. “We feel a real desire of the prosecutor Laura Beccuau to act,” says Jean-François Serrano, coordinator of the council for the rights and duties of families.

For the facts of delinquency levels severity vary widely: insults, stone throwing, theft, assault … in the corridors of the courthouse, lawyers observed. “what is surprising is the degree of violence to a mobile phone, they are sometimes willing to knife attack, which does not occur with major. “for less serious offenders and primary acts of reminders to law or remedies may be imposed. But for repeat offenders, the juvenile judge may decide to educational or heavy criminal sanctions measures as a passage in a closed educational center.

“For a mobile phone, they are sometimes ready to attack with a knife “

Nîmes, the prosecution seems determined to tighten the screw. “The arraignment has become the new policy,” resumed lawyers. A choice that assumes fully Patrick Bottero “. The most interesting in my opinion, and effective to break a cycle of recidivism, the placement in a closed educational center” On February 29, 12 minors were detained, 14 others in a closed educational center, usually outside the department. This new direction is not to everyone’s taste. She questions the SNPES (Union of Education Personnel and social) which sees a way “to the number”: “There are too many déferrements, making removes the exceptional character says Edith Lledos, educator . judicial youth protection matters must be better graded “other educators, anonymously, deplore this policy.” There are a lot of repair and judicial control measures but it lacks a between -two. We, we are here to bring educational proposals. Everyone does not consider the meaning of the “closed” word. this is symbolic but is it effective? An educational work often brings better answers . “on the issue of efficiency, me

Jean-François Corral, lawyer Nîmes Bar, particularly a mismatch between the time of the facts and legal responses. “What is unfortunate is that lack of funds, we can not put out earlier sanctions outside prison, more understandable from the beginning.” Perhaps Will the new constantly able to respond quickly to the needs . But the situation should also challenge the politicians on all sides: by dint of reducing subsidies to grassroots organizations forced to act with limited means and without ambitious policy areas that offer youth dormant, usually after disadvantaged families? The proliferation of video surveillance, if effective, can not be the only answer. Proof.

In town, 100 calls to order a year for 10-17 years

In 2011, city ​​of Nimes was setting up the council for the rights and duties of families, an organization that works with children, upstream of justice. This structure acts for incivility minor facts, which are not subject to criminal prosecution, in order to avoid recurrence. Children or adolescents and their parents are invited to attend a town hall to call to order “They may have committed vis-à-vis insult of a controller in a bus, make noise at night down a building degrade street furniture, a bench, make tags or cause small quarrels near a school, for example, “identifies Jean-François Serrano, who is the mediator between the different partners: neighborhood associations, national education , social housing, transport company …

Pull the alarm

Every two months, Jean-François Serrano and Councillor Éline Enriquez-Bouzanquet participate with the prosecutor, personalized monitoring group where each case is discussed. One hundred minors aged 10 to 17 years receive an annual call to order, a stable figure since 2011. “It’s effective for new. There is a call, a solemn meeting with an elected council, it impresses, usually we see them no more. You sense that this is a good thing, the objective is to support them as soon as possible. “” The idea is to warn children, sometimes as young as 10 years, before it is too late, said in early February, the municipal councilor. Pull the alarm somehow and say: “Attention, what are you doing?”. “

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