Today marks the culmination of the the first edition of the Goncourt Prize for Prisoners, jointly organized by Eric Dupond-Moretti, Minister of Justice and Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak, while the reading was declared a “great national cause” 2022 by the President of the Republic.

Nearly 500 inmates in 31 institutions participated in the 1er Goncourt Award for Prisoners organized by the Prison Administration and the National Book Centre (CNL), under the patronage of the Goncourt Academy. At the end of workshops, meetings with authors and a phase of interregional deliberations, the national deliberation took place this morning at the CNL: a jury composed of 10 detainees chosen by their peers (benefiting from a temporary release or videoconference) has chosen his favorite book among the 15 books of the 2022 selection of the Prix Goncourt: the book His favorite by the author Sarah Jollien-Fardel, at Sabine Wespieser editor.

The first edition of the Prix Goncourt des détenus, started in early September 2022, with the announcement of the 15 novels selected by the Goncourt Academy. This project has met with real success in the prisons, accompanied by the very strong mobilization of the prison administration as well as all its partners. Thus, in each institution, the participating inmates were accompanied by dozens of cultural coordinators, teachers or external partners (bookshops, libraries, associations, etc.) mobilized for the success of this project.

From 17 October to 10 November 2022, the detainees were able to meet the authors selected by the Goncourt Academy, in penitentiary facilities or by videoconference, and exchange with them on the proposed works. Quality and wealth of these exchanges were welcomed by all partners. Being a member of this literary award has enabled people placed under the hand of justice to be valued in their critical capacity and their cultural commitment, while having access to literary works at the heart of the current artistic creation.

Between November 21 and 1er In December 2022, inter-regional deliberations were held in videoconferencing or cultural venues. Two or three persons detained, from each institution, defended their literary choices to lead to the selection of three works by interregional directorate of the prison administration.

The national deliberations that are ending today bring to a close this unprecedented project, by its scope and quality, at the service of access to culture in detention and reintegration.

Culture to promote reintegration

The Goncourt Award for Inmates is in response to the commitment of the Ministries of Justice and Culture to develop cultural practice in prisons and to promote reading as a vector for social inclusion and social and professional reintegration.  Read, write, dialogue with authors: the book in prison can help prepare the path of reintegration of inmates, promote dialogue and trust, as well as the opening of the imagination.

The organization of the Prix Goncourt des détenus is part of the 4e Protocol concluded between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Culture in 2022: since 1986, when the first protocol was signed, the two ministries have been working together to strengthen the access of the criminal population to different forms of cultural practices.

Alongside training, education, citizen actions and sports, access to culture is more than ever at the heart of the system implemented by the Ministry of Justice to combat recidivism.