French President Nicolas Sarkozy has refused to pardon prisoners on Bastille Day. (BBC News: Sarkozy says 'No' to mass pardons) He has instead decided that the French President's powers to pardon criminals should be used in exceptional circumstances and not as a means of keeping the prison population down.
Too often the opposite attitude prevails in this country, resulting in criminals being given lenient sentences and even non-custodial sentences, exposing the system to ridicule. If prisons have to be overcrowded until more have been built, or if cell space has to be reduced to increase capacity, then those are the only sensible options. Rationing prison places does nothing to deter crime or reassure society.