The security period corresponds to the period of the sentence during which the convict cannot obtain any adjustment of his sentence.
This security period is sometimes pronounced by the trial court on a mandatory basis, sometimes on an optional basis.
Mandatory security period
For a number of particularly serious offences, and if the sentence imposed is at least equal to 10 years of custodial sentence without suspension, the law imposes the pronouncement of a security period in addition to the main sentence.
This security period is half the penalty, or of 18 years if sentenced to life.
The trial court may, however, by special decision, extend the duration of this security period until two thirds of the sentence, or 22 years if sentenced to life.
She can also pronounce a period of perpetual safety.
The optional security period
In all cases where the law does not impose a security period, the courts which condemn to a custodial sentence of more than 5 years without suspension, may add a security period.
The security period cannot exceed two-thirds of the sentence. In the event of a life sentence, the security period cannot exceed 22 years.
The safety period is provided for by article 132-23 of the Penal Code which provides:
"In the event of a custodial sentence, not suspended, the duration of which is equal to or greater than ten years, pronounced for offenses specially provided for by law, the convicted person cannot benefit, during a security period, from the provisions concerning the suspension or splitting of the sentence, placement on the outside, permission to go out, semi- freedom and parole.
The duration of the security period is half the sentence or, if it is a sentence of life imprisonment, eighteen years. The court of assizes or the court may, however, by special decision, either increase these periods up to two-thirds of the sentence or, in the case of a sentence of life imprisonment, up to twenty - two years, or decide to reduce these periods.
In other cases, when imposing a custodial sentence of more than five years, not accompanied by a suspended sentence, the court may set a security period during which the convicted person cannot benefit from any of the execution of the sentence mentioned in the first paragraph. The duration of this security period may not exceed two-thirds of the sentence pronounced or twenty-two years in the event of a sentence of life imprisonment. »Penal Code