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Penal TDF
June 4, 2009 2:08 PM   Subscribe

The first ever Penal Tour De France
posted by Confess, Fletch (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Most disappointing news title ever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:11 PM on June 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


How can this possibly be a good idea?
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:11 PM on June 4, 2009


^ prisoners are people too, no?
posted by @troy at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2009


"It's a kind of escape for us, a chance to break away from the daily reality of prison," said a prisoner identified as Daniel at the project's launch in May.


Can't. Stop. Laughing.
posted by djrock3k at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Festina and Astana should be fielding teams for this one.
posted by grounded at 2:15 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doing a ride like this once seems feasible, but you'd think the security required for the training sessions would be prohibitive.

Excellent use of the "De" tag!
posted by gurple at 2:15 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look at those dirty Frenchies, treating prisoners like real people. Now where are my freedom fries?
posted by exhilaration at 2:16 PM on June 4, 2009


In breaking news, several competitors were unable to complete the race after their bicycles were stolen during a pit stop.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:21 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The prisoners, all serving jail terms of between five and 10 years, will make stopovers in 17 different towns, each of which has a jail.

"And on your left is a quaint little detention facility that was first opened in 1845, due to the sheer number of drunken hooligans who would carouse after hours on the holy days. Note the attention to detail, such as bars being big enough to lob rotten fruit through, but not large enough to reach out and grab a passer-by."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:22 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet they're cycling more drug-free than the competitors in the real Tour de France.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:24 PM on June 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


i wonder how well can those guards shoot a gun while riding a bike.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 2:29 PM on June 4, 2009


It's both awesome and crazy. And there are a lot of white-collar or petty crime prisoners who need some motivation to reform, so for the right prisoners it sounds like a positive experience. I'm just guessing the serial rapists aren't being taken along.
posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on June 4, 2009


What could possibly go wrong?
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:30 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't know why or even what I'd expect from such a thing, but I really wanted this to be about the Penile Tour de France.

Oh, I know why. It's because I'm still 11 inside.
posted by yiftach at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


@ @troy:

Why assume that because I am opposed to this idea in the post the only reason for my opposition could possibly be "I think prisoners should be treated like dirt and locked up in a cell all day and are not people etc."? Remember, these people are prisoners, so maybe we can find another way of empowering them without letting them out in the public with a bicycle???

Somehow I have a feeling that if I came out against a new program that would relieve prison overcrowding by placing convicted sex offenders in an orphanage you would have given me the same pushback.
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:34 PM on June 4, 2009


Somehow I have a feeling that if I came out against a new program that would relieve prison overcrowding by placing convicted sex offenders in an orphanage you would have given me the same pushback.

Well, there goes my idea for a clones-of-Hitler-in-Poland program.
posted by gurple at 2:38 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I say this as a very liberal person:

That is one of the craziest uses of taxpayer money I have ever heard of.
posted by flarbuse at 2:38 PM on June 4, 2009


Are you going to do that before or after the Toaster in Every Shower by 2011 Initiative?
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2009


That is one of the craziest uses of taxpayer money I have ever heard of.

According to the UK Home office's document: Worldwide Prison Population, France has ~50K prisoners and an incarceration rate that's ~1/10th of the USA's. The USA, by comparison, has nearly 2 million prisoners. Their prison budget simply isn't a big deal.
posted by GuyZero at 2:44 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this is crazy too but what-the-hell.

Being a distance cyclist, I agree with the character-building aspect of this activity and I at least applaud the French authorities on their creativity.

Without knowing anything I assume this is like the highest honor level reward for the prisoners, whom I hope are non-violent. But even violent prisoners are going to be released on the streets so continuous punishment and isolation from society doesn't seem to me to be the most workable approach.

IMO prisons shouldn't be 100% punishment or 100% vacation stays.

Something like study hall in school is my preference. A long, good timeout from normal society to reflect on the crimes and/or better oneself in preparation for returning to society.

I have read (IIRC via The Straight Dope) that the UK has crazy furlough programs that often backfire.
posted by @troy at 3:16 PM on June 4, 2009


Do you know what else builds teamwork? Plans for escape. The more complex they are, the more you have to trust your fellow (inmate) man.

I guess these guys have a few years until they're released, so getting out early and being on the run might not be as tempting as just going on a great bike ride and hoping for early parole.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:03 PM on June 4, 2009


I assume this is like the highest honor level reward for the prisoners, whom I hope are non-violent.

They're French; how violent could they be?

[NOT FRENCHIST]
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2009


how violent could they be?

It's not like they'd cut your head off for supporting the wrong political party or something. And they certainly would not fund an insurrection just to piss off a neighbouring country.
posted by GuyZero at 5:08 PM on June 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Given that the USA has an absolutely batshit insane rate of imprisonment, we Americans might want to spend a little time figuring out why the other Western industrialized nations have -- per capita -- less than a sixth of our prison population.

Maybe not treating prisoners like animals is part of the answer.
posted by Wufpak at 6:41 PM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow!

This is absolutely fantastic. What a great idea. I am not even joking. I know I live in America and we humiliate, rape, and torture our prisoners, but shit-damn I got a wonderful feeling reading that article.

It is nice to know that it isn't necessarily the human race that sucks, just part of it.
posted by zach4000 at 7:06 PM on June 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


In France, they cycle. In Canada, they gather Lava rock (photos).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:16 PM on June 4, 2009


Can't wait for the movie where a large group of them manage to get on the run, as it were, and by the end of the movie most of them are rounded up but the most handsome, coolest, and really misunderstood, rugged and nice one manages to escape.
posted by juiceCake at 9:03 PM on June 4, 2009


"Shiftin' gears over here, boss!"
posted by orme at 6:59 AM on June 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Shiftin' gears over here, boss!"


Now what we gawt heah, is a failure, to velicipede!
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personne ne mange pas cinquante ouefs!

pardon my french

You could, I suppose, eat 50 eggs if you made some of them into a souffle and some into Bearnaise sauce and the rest into little meringues...
posted by GuyZero at 10:16 AM on June 5, 2009


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