French prison holds go karting event for inmates including a murderer and a rapist

Prisoners took part in swimming and a tug-of-war as well as racing each other around a track


A prison governor in France has conceded an "error of judgment" was made, after a go-karting event was held for inmates.

Inmates at the Fresnes prison, situated just south of Paris, were filmed racing each other and appearing to have fun.

Inmates taking part in the rehabilitation activities.
Inmates taking part in the rehabilitation activities.

Still images of the event have sent shockwaves through French politics, with the Justice Department being pressured for an explanation.

Inmates taking part in an obstacle course.
Inmates taking part in an obstacle course.

Go-karting was one of several events held for the prisoners. Detainees also got to enjoy swimming, an obstacle course and a tug-of-war.

The activities were based reality TV show called Koh-Lanta.

Fresnes Prison.
Fresnes Prison.

Justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said: "Had I known there’d be a go-karting contest, I would have imposed a very clear ban."

His comments came after a video of the racing was posted online by organisers.

Leader of the conservative Republicains Party, Eric Ciotti, said: "Our prisons are not holiday camps where inmates and guards become friends.

“Where is the respect for the victims and their families who see these criminals having fun while they serve their sentences? Where is the fear of punishment?”

Following the posting of the video, it became clear that two of the Fresnes prisoners were serving murder and rape sentences.

The video was removed from YouTube after this information emerged.

One organiser, Djibril Drame, said that the prison was told that nobody who had committed a violent crime was permitted to attend in the event.

The ministry had given the go ahead for the events, but were not given details of the go-karting or pool use, according to a report published by the Justice Department on Tuesday.

Justice minister Mr Dupond-Moretti said that he would outline new parameters for rehabilitation events for prisoners.

President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the plan to establish new rules for rehabilitation events, saying: “The minister of justice is right to remind [prison authorities] of what should and should not be done.

“The prison sentence has a meaning in society, it is not the same as exclusion from everything, it is intended to allow for rehabilitation.”