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France Urged to Free Prisoners to Thwart Virus in Crowded Jails

  • Riots may break out after France banned visitors, group warns
  • French warning follows experience in virus-hit Italian prisons
The watch tower overlooks the prison in Perpignan, on March 17. 

The watch tower overlooks the prison in Perpignan, on March 17. 

Photographer: Raymond Roig/AFP via Getty Images

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France should “drastically” cut prisoner numbers in its overcrowded jails to prevent the covid-19 virus from taking hold and to avoid riots, a group representing detainees, magistrates and lawyers warned.