Noumea’s old prison is in a state of disrepair. The government is going to finance the construction of a new prison.

The French government’s Minister of Justice was in prison in Nouméa on Thursday 22 February. Eric Dupont-Moretti visited the very old Camp-Est prison. It is an archaic prison where conditions of detention are appalling. Numerous press articles and official inspection reports have denounced the situation. Camp-Est is considered to be the shame of the Republic.

Eric Dupont-Moretti has announced that the State will finance a new 600-place prison. It will cost around 82 million Australian dollars. This is the largest investment ever made in New Caledonia by the State (in francs). He was accompanied on the occasion by the French government’s Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin and the President of the Caledonian Government, Louis Mapou.

It will be built in Ducos, near the industrial district of Nouméa.

France is not giving up on Caledonia

The following day, the former star lawyer turned minister officially inaugurated the Koné prison, 260 kilometres north of Nouméa. The prison, which has been in operation for several months, has a capacity of 120 places. Its mission is to combat recidivism. It cost 8.8 million Australian dollars.

The purpose of this visit is highly political. The French government wants to show that it is investing heavily in New Caledonia and that it has no intention of “abandoning” the island.

Loyalists and independentists are currently in the middle of discussions on the institutional future of the archipelago.