Ministry Spokesman Olivier Pedro-Jose said "It's a sad affair, there are many inmates asking for transfers," when asked to confirm the facts about the finger, according to Reuters
Police pointed to the delivery of an envelope with a chunk of finger inside that was delivered on Thursday to the offices of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, as confirmation that the incident did occur.
The man reportedly whacked his finger off
in protest of prison overcrowding and his desire to be closer to home.
An accompanying letter argued for a transfer to a jail nearer to the inmate's family, according to police.
French jails are severely overcrowded. The prison population this year swelled to 67,000 compared to about 50,000 a decade ago, according to Justice Ministry figures.
While Taubira, a Socialist
, claims she wants to eliminate overcrowding, political opponents say she is soft on crime and reduced sentences and liberal policies concerning the prison system will create other law-and-order issues.