A French jail

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A French jail
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Here is the report of Hazan, French General Inspector of Jails. Extracts:


The controllers were aware of the situation of a detained person reporting to the medical service be a victim of violence by his cellmate. A doctor performed an urgent report to the prison administration for him to be changed of cell. An officer would immediately visited the applicant's cell to solicit, in the presence of the fellow inmate in question, details of the reasons for his concern. He has not changed of cell. The next day, the person stated to have been raped during the night.


At the first visit of the site in 2009, the general inspector had made some observations of detention conditions. Nearly five years later, the situation has not hardly changed or has worsened:

  • Water points and sanitary of walking courses are still in a deplorable state of dirt and for many unusable.

  • Some shower rooms were renovated but one of them is degraded and does not include any partition. The shower water is freezing and there is still no hot water in the cells.

  • Many mattresses are devoured by mold, reflecting the high humidity in some cells. This moisture, causing many damages to walls and ceilings can lead to respiratory and skin diseases.

  • It's cold in the cells (17 ° C during the day in a cell for minors). Many people leave their [cook] hotplate continuously lit, but this may cause burns or fires.

  • In disciplinary area, the cell temperature was 14.6 ° C (outdoor temperature: 10 ° C). In one of them, a person, numb with cold, was equipped with an "Emergency protective clothing" (EPC) of a tear pajamas, and a tear-proof cover. [Tear pajamas is a special paper's clothing, you can't hang you with it]

  • Using the EPC is indicated only if a suicidal crisis has been diagnosed. The majority of suicides in detention occur in a punishment block, the CGLPL disputes the merits of keeping a suicidal person in it, while the administration knows perfectly his condition [with a tear-resistant cover, with which he could hang himself].

These conditions seriously affect the dignity of persons and represent an inhuman and degrading treatment.


Breach of medical confidentiality, dismissal the staff trying to enforce it; opening the confidential letters to or from the General Inspection of Prisons, destruction of prisoners' mails; threats, humiliations and provocations of prisoners to prevent them of testifying to inspectors:


Very few requests for interviews were given to controllers during their visit of the prison. While 758 people were jailed on the day of arrival, only twenty requests reached them, which is far less than the average solicitations when we visiting a prison.


A photo of the prison, taken by the prison administration

The photos of the prison, taken by the inspectors

Newgate and Bastille

In the photo of the prison taken by the authorities it looks like a deserted Death Row after a mass execution. In the photos taken by the inspectors it resembles an especially cruel and punishing  housing estate after the  residents were forcibly removed years ago and no one has ever cleaned up or repaired the damage caused during the eviction. Its the Bastille all over again and doubtless Newgate too. 

But Messrs Hollande and Cameron would approve. Their new "no tolerance" attitude to all those who don't knuckle down meekly under austerity - or think they can use "liberty" and "freedom of the individual"  for their own purposes which misunderstanding now needs correcting  - means that imprisonment for whatever reason  in such foul conditions will satisfy capitalism's need to impose orwellian  1984 conditions on the whole of society including both official prisons and those unofficial gaols outside in civil society. (Maybe "civil" is the wrong word nowadays?) 

The future is bleak if the working class doesn't start moving towards a mass gaol break, sooner rather than later. 

Taubira response

How to defend the administration, when the administration itself denounces a prisoner to his cellmate torturer?


Taubira, our minister of justice, accused the doctor who had issued the alert, of having neglected to specify to the officer that the situation was urgent and should be resolved discretely, and anyway, he did not send its report to the facility manager, as he should have done.

This is a huge lie to protect the officer. Hazan said it is completely wrong: probably she has the written report of the doctor.

Moreover, about the water system, Taubira admits that “during winter, the maintenance contract of the water network provides a systematic cut of water points and sanitary because of frost risk (what?!). However, they are rehabilitated each year at spring in order to be used by detained people as soon as the weather permits (but of course!).”

(pendant la période hivernale, le marché d'entretien du réseau d'eau prévoit une coupure systématique des points d'eau et des sanitaires en raison des risques de gel. Ils sont cependant remis en état chaque année au printemps afin de pouvoir être utilisés par les personnes détenues dès que le climat le permet.)

Taubira proves once again that she has no brain, because if this was true, it would mean that prisoners have no water all the winter. However, this illustrates the deplorable state of the water network, and the total indifference of Taubira towards the living conditions of prisoners.

Another proof of the magnificent intelligence of Taubira:


Regarding the water temperature, the production facilities of hot water were calibrated to a theoretical number of 444 people hosted. So beyond 700 people present in the establishment, consumption reached a level that exchangers ensuring instant hot water cannot absorb. Remember, at 2015.03.01, the prison population was 720 people. The replacement of this facility involves the restructuring of the entire distribution water network, which represents a major operation. Lastly, contrary to what is indicated, hot water is available in the cells since the opening of the facility in 1988.

(Concernant la température de l'eau, les installations de production d'eau chaude ont été calibrées pour un effectif théorique de 444 personnes hébergées. Ainsi, au-delà de 700 personnes présentes à l'établissement, la consommation atteint un niveau que les échangeurs assurant la production instantanée d'eau chaude ne peuvent absorber. Pour mémoire au 01/03/2015, la population de la maison d'arrêt était de 720 personnes. Le remplacement de cette installation suppose la restructuration de tout le dispositif de distribution d'eau, ce qui représente une opération de grande envergure. Enfin, contrairement à ce qui est indiqué, l'eau chaude est disponible dans les cellules depuis l'ouverture de l'établissement en 1988.)

So, hot water production facilities, designed for 444 residents (probably the maximum legal capacity of the prison), pushed to the limit for 700 prisoners, unable to provide hot water for 720 prisoners (not mention of staff), still provides hot water in cells. Don't you see the red button of the tap? There was hot water in 1988, so there is hot water in 2015.

Something else: mold in the mattresses? It is the fault of prisoners. They tear the plastic wrap of mattresses. But after the inspection, the prisoners has were able to exchange their rotten mattresses. A problem? No problem.


Moreover, two cells located at the end of a corridor are affected by a moisture problem from the condensation of a water pipe. This phenomenon concerns more or less the entire establishment, roof waterproofing no longer fully guaranteed. Funds have been reserved (€ 250,000) to review the roofs waterproofing and treat seepage problems in the buildings. Preliminary studies will be conducted this year.

(par ailleurs, deux cellules situées en bout de coursive sont affectées par un problème d'humidité provenant de la condensation d'une conduite d'eau. Ce phénomène concerne plus ou moins tout l'établissement, l'étanchéité des toitures n'était plus totalement garantie. Des crédits ont été réservés (250 000 €) pour reprendre l'étanchéité des toitures et traiter les problèmes d'infiltration dans les bâtiments. Les études préalables seront conduites cette année.)

In other words, nothing concrete will be done this year. The water system and the roofs were left abandoned for years but we have to wait another year. It is not impossible that the planned funds will be diminish. Taubira already said she refuse to replace all the water network. Rotten pipe, rotten roof, rotten prison.

Taubira still claims that the heating problem is already solved, by connecting the local hot water network to the city hot water network. Certainly, the new system regularly falls down, but it is not the fault of the prison if the inspectors come precisely during the outages. And if it's cold in the cells, it's also because the prisoners obstruct the vents. So the heating problem is not solved, and moreover, there is another problem that is the obstruction of the vents!

14.6 °C in the punishment block in March, what must it be in winter! Especially with a paper pajamas, for “prevent suicide”.

Taubira psychology is: if there is hot water pipe, then there is hot water. If there is heating system, then the heating system works. If there is a cleaning planning, then the cleaning is done. If there is still problems, it is the fault of prisoners (or medical staff, or dishonest inspectors, etc.). These are just small problems which will be solved with time. But the reality just don't work like that!

About the prisoner in the disciplinary block: the prisoner was sentenced to seven days of hole (+7 days of suspended sentence) for having a mobile phone, which is forbidden. The prisoner was angry because all these administrative punishments given to him would cancel his sentence reductions. He then threatened to commit suicide (which is common).

The guards probably said: “You want to kill yourself? Okay!” Then they stripped naked by force and pass him the paper pajamas. “You will not escape from the dog block with that. Here is your ripstop coverage if you really want to hang yourself. See you next week!”

As said Taubira:


The use of Emergency Protective Clothing (EPC) is governed by the ministerial note of 15 June 2009 concerning the plan to prevent suicide of people detained. [...] The regulation is therefore fully respected in the Strasbourg prison.

(Le recours à la dotation de protection d'urgence (DPU) est régie par la note ministérielle du 15 Juin 2009 relative au plan de prévention du suicide des personnes détenue. […] La réglementation est par conséquent parfaitement respectée à la maison d'arrêt de Strasbourg.)

Many other elements are revealed by the Taubira's “defense” and the inspector's report. The facilities are in great disorder, the jailers’ chairs are inclined in the position “nap”, the cells for disabled people were requisitioned to serve as game room for jailers, the mails are open or destroyed by jailers without any control…

By the way, Taubira lies, claiming that the report mentions a single letter intercepted by the jailers, but if you looked at the pictures of the document that I have already mentioned, you saw that several letters had been opened. Taubira lies as she breathes. She also said that the General Inspector has no evidence, despite the pictures. She calls the censorship of prisoners' letters to the General Inspection of Prisons, whose confidentiality is protected by law, "indelicacies" and claims that this almost never happens. The proof: four (4) complaints mails managed to cross the illegal censorship to the General Inspection in 2014 (number of prisoners in the prison: 720).

Taubira further explains that lack of respect of jailers to prisoners is due to the lack of respect of prisoners to jailers. She also said it is in the "culture" of the prison. But it would soon improve with the retirement of some jailers, and the recruiting of new jailers.

Taubira concludes that the material hosting conditions have improved, and they will continue to improve, and there is no evidence, despite the rape charges and everything else, that fundamental rights prisoners were severely attacked.