Resignation of the medical team, violence… What is happening in the administrative detention center?

Lyon Saint-Exupery administrative detention center (CRA) is brand new. He celebrated his first birthday in January. Its 140 places were even inaugurated by the interior minister during his visit to Lyon in August. Gerald Darmanin also took the opportunity to announce the opening of another similar facility in 2023, this new CRA a “pilot project” to be replicated throughout France.

However, it is “impossible to provide services” in these new buildings, says Dr. Thomas Millot. The entire medical staff of five nurses and this doctor decided to leave in mid-December.

The building is “poorly constructed”

Thomas Millot worked at Lyon CRA for five years. He was aware of the working conditions “by going there”. He “knew” what it meant to care for “detained, undocumented, deportable” – a word used by the Civil Service “not to say deport”. It has been working indoors for over ten years.

From 2017 to 2022, this health worker then spent five and a half days a week providing care at the center, which he says was “tolerable, livable.” What prompted him to leave was the relocation near the airport. Fed up with this system, the doctor continues: “It was poorly constructed and the services did not consider it useful to bring the police in.”

“After the events of this summer, the prefecture wanted to clean up some kind of violations by taking all those who put the construction site on the street to connect it to this center. » The doctor is determined: “GDK is a tool of the state that allows people without documents to be detained for three months without the need for justice.” According to him, after being released, these persons “return to their place” and are not necessarily expelled from the country.

“We can’t lock people and close the door”

The atmosphere has become more “aggressive” since the summer episodes and the “prefect’s will”. “All this combined with a poorly thought-out building and without the police it was impossible to deal with drugs,” he said. You can’t lock people in and close the door. You need people who are in contact with the prisoners. A beautiful building with locks is not enough. »

“It’s been a long time without anyone” since the medical team left, more than a month. Thomas Millot is associated with Lyon Sud, managed by Hospices Civiles de Lyon (HCL). Then he knows it’s a “private company doing temporary medical work” to ensure “continuity of care” and because he can’t shut people down without providing the public health system.

What the Prefecture confirms in these terms: “The recruitment, integration and retention of medical staff is carried out jointly by the State and the Hospice Civiles de Lyon (HCL)”. It confirms that “prisoner care is provided by HCL through a full-time paramedic, up to 3.5 and a half days per week physician attendance and a partnership completed by a project to build a teleconsultation system. “.

A former CRA doctor concludes: “No one in the civil service wants to work in these conditions anymore.”

Complaints have been made

Conditions he wanted to improve during his years at CRA. Thomas Millot spent his time asking for “downsizing in the field, arranging for dental care, as well as dealing with drug addiction.” This last specific, he passed on to “have all the hats” on his next mission. He concludes: “Ultimately, the core does not exist.” Before adding: “We also asked for a policeman on duty to ensure our safety.”

The Rhône prefecture, for its part, claims to have heard these complaints. “Meetings are held regularly to improve operations,” he explains. Currently, the State services are working on “corrections in the functioning of the premises” to ensure that the working conditions and care of medical staff are as good as possible with prisoners who may have some violent profiles. of the latter “.

According to someone who is now an emergency physician at the SMUR in Villefranche-sur-Saône, the CRA in Lyon is the “Titanic”. “It gets water from all sides,” he says. Sharing an important detail is then meant to multiply that experience. “Our improvements will be used for others that will open later,” the prefecture replies.

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