Shocking video: life inside a French jail

Prisoners from a French jail have managed to film under the watch of the guards using hidden cameras smuggled into the jail. A shocking look into the world of the French prison service.

Over an hour of footage was shot with the aid of a hidden camera smuggled into the prison. The inmates then managed to get the equipment out of the prison and into the hands of two young film producers, Omar Dawson and Karim Bellazaar, who together edited the video that we see here. A shocking inside view of the daily lives of prisoners in France: the images reveal moss-covered shower walls, less-than-basic toiletries and crammed cells. They also show us a few examples of the inventiveness of the residents. For example, the 'Yo-Yo' system, which allows inmates to pass objects from window to window using bed sheets.

Contributors

Karim Bellazaar and Omar Dawson kindly offered permission for The Observer site to publish the short film. They hope it to reach as many people, particularly abroad.

"Their message is simple: don't believe that that prison is a place of rehabilitation"

Karim Bellazaar is a co-founder of Iscreen, a production company which works mainly in the poor suburbs of Paris.

This idea came from the inmates, not from us. They got in touch with us because they knew about our work in the suburbs and because they trusted us. They didn't want to give the images to the mainstream press. They took the risk of filming to give people another view of life in prison life, different from the usual reports, which they believe are too supervised by the prison service.

Their message is simple: don't believe that that prison is a place of rehabilitation. Because - as the inmate at the end of the video explains - all sorts of people get put in the same situation in prison: bandits, professional criminals and minor delinquents. I'm always hearing people say that the suburbs are lawless places. Well so are the prisons, and they're administered by the state.

We're going to make a documentary with the rest of the images we've got. There are violent scenes, of course, but also some funny scenes. We're going to try to show the psychological violence that this self-contained world brings about. Remember they've only got an hour a day outside. What do they do the rest of the time, locked in their cells?"

Comments

Prisons are supposed to be

Prisons are supposed to be "deterrents" meaning...they are bad places...dont break the law and you won't have to worry about being in one. I think those guys have it pretty easy compared to some places I've seen...They've got food, fresh air, clothing...etc. etc...
Tell them to get over themselves, and start being a productive funtionable citizen.

I'm an American and I have

I'm an American and I have heard that things in our prison system is almost as bad as that. I once watched a programme on TV about a man who made a documentary where he went to prison for thirty days. It was fairly interesting how violent things are. In fact, we have one fourth of all the world's prisoners in this country

I'm an American and I have

I'm an American and I have heard that things in our prison system is almost as bad as that. I once watched a programme on TV about a man who made a documentary where he went to prison for thirty days. It was fairly interesting how violent things are. In fact, we have one fourth of all the world's prisoners in this country

Shocking video: life inside a French jail

That video shows nothing shocking to anyone who knows of prison systems in other countries. The showers were horrible but let's look at what these prisoners do have that most US prison inmate would never get - never mind in Asia, S America or Africa
- windows that open w/ fresh air in cells
- a cell w/ storage
- security so loose a video cam could be smuggled in AND back out again.
No wonder they can get away with cooking in their cells

as is the case with the complaints about "inhuman" living conditions in the banlieues, I'd love to ship a planeload of French complainers over to the US to be incarcerated in Attica (or the ghettos in Detroit).

They'd be begging to be sent back to France in a week.

Perhaps, think about why

Perhaps, think about why they got there in the first place!! Prime reason is to penalise/punish first , then rehabilitate. Quite frankly,seems to be far superior accommmodation to some asian prisons. There is always someone who wants to act as an 'apologist'for people who deserve their fate/situation.

French Prisoners

But weren't they put there for a reason?

Re the filthy conditions, aren't there faults on both sides - surely the management should set a standard of cleanliness and insist on the prisoners working to maintain that standard. The fairy godmother is not going to come in with her magic wand a clean it up for them.

xmas

Season of goodwill,wishing all the staff at france 24.com.happy christmas and a prosperous new year.

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