The citadel of Besançon, through political will, is a registered site for Community Service and has accepted young offenders on placement for over 20 years now.
Every month, an offender works at the Citadel thus benefiting society through reparation measures.
The Citadel of Besançon accepts two types of offenders:
- The Youth Criminal Reparation Measures, provided for in the Act of 2February 1945, amended on 4 January 1993, can be ordered by the Procurator of the Republic, the children’s judge or the Juvenile Court. This legal measure is educational and aims to raise awareness of criminal law, the consequences for the offender of breaking this law and the consequences for society. The length of this punishment can vary between 7 and 35 hours.
- The T.I.G. or Community Service Scheme for adult offenders was introduced by the Act of 10 June 1983. Community Service is an alternative to a prison sentence and consists of non-paid public service work within an association, public authority, Public Institution, or private legal entity. The offender thereby continues to assume his parental, social and tangible responsibilities while working for the benefit of the community. In this way the Courts do not have to pronounce short prison sentences The length of Community Service may vary between 20 and 120 hours for a minor criminal offence and between 440 and 210 hours for a major misdemeanor.
The citadel of Besancon works closely with the Service de Réparation Pénale (SEREPE), (Criminal Justice department), which is a member of the “Association Départementale de sauvegarde de l’Enfant à l’Adulte” (Save the Children and Adults association), the Legal Youth Protection and « les Services Pénitentiaires Insertion et Probation » (the Penitentiary Integration and Probation department), with sentencing appropriate to the offence committed.
Work done at the Citadel varies in function with the offenders’ skills and physical capacity, ranging from daily upkeep such as emptying rubbish bins, cleaning public areas and toilet facilities; cleaning the grounds and covert ways, helping with plumbing or masonry repairs, cleaning the pathways and windows in the zoo or helping the zoo keepers with their daily tasks, etc. The offenders work as part of the teams at the Citadel thus learning how to live life in the community again, how to work in a team and to respect instructions, times and schedules.
The long-term viability of the scheme is ensured by the close involvement of Citadel personnel in the Community Service Scheme. The technical manager and head zoo keepers are in charge overall and staff members supervise the offenders and make sure that they carry out their work properly.
Despite some problems with integration and placement, accepting offenders at the Citadel of Besançon constitutes a supplementary source of labor for the maintenance of the site. For example, in 2011 the Pubic Institution received 8 adults for a total of 605 hours Community Service and 6 teenagers for 84 hours of criminal justice sanctions. Only 10% of offenders at the Citadel drop out of their work commitments within the framework of their reparation placement.