Caroline Baudry 6:15 a.m., June 27, 2022

The reform of the status of detained workers came into force on May 1.

Essential changes to bring the rights of working prisoners closer to ordinary law.

As a symbol, the new penitentiary code containing these new rights was printed by the prisoners of Melun, in the Paris region.

Europe 1 was able to enter there to meet these detainees.


For prisoners too, May Day marked a step forward in their labor rights.

The law was enacted last winter as part of the law for confidence in the judicial institution.

Work contract, right to unemployment, retirement, maternity leave... The rights of prisoner workers are now closer to what they will experience outside the walls of their establishment.

6,400 blue books printed by prisoners in Melun

Since its entry into force on May 1, 6,400 prison codes have been printed in Melun prison.

The blue book is 640 pages.

It includes, among other things, the new rights of detained workers, whether for public or private companies or to perform the tasks necessary for the operation of the premises, knowing that a third of the prisoners work in France.


- With more than 71,000 detainees in April, prisons in France are suffocating

At the Melun printing works, 90 men in overalls wander among the goods lifts and the piles of paper.

These detainees passed through heavy metal doors to reach the printing press, located 100 meters from their cells.

Suzano bustles in front of the machines.

He's been on the job since 7 a.m. this morning.

"It allows me to get out of the cell, to learn something! In all, I've been in prison for ten years. Being busy is already not bad in prison. It also gives us self-esteem! "

"Even more motivation"

A real work contract, called a prison employment contract, will soon replace the simple A4 sheet that serves as a legal document.

This prisoner is delighted to have the right to unemployment and retirement.

"To also be able, in the event of an accident at work, to know that we are taken care of, that gives us even more motivation, to know that by leaving here we will also be able to benefit from the efforts we have made. here,” he explains.

"We are useful for something, just for society already. We are part of something!"

smiled the man, pointing to the large plates fresh out of the printer.

As in society, the new contracts bind the prisoners no longer to the prison, but to the managers of the company, like Nathalie in this printing press: "Once they have passed the door, I do not want to know what they did or why they are there, it does not concern me and I do not want to know" she insists, in the hubbub of the machines.

Preparing for reintegration

To prepare for reintegration, Nathalie only looks at work, like Jean-Paul's.

Installed on his computer desk, he receives orders to check the layout before printing.

“It is indeed the relationship with the employer which is close to the functioning that we will find outside”, realizes this prisoner.

"It's always interesting to have this link that invites us to behave, as we will be in society, already inside the prison".

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Working in prison reduces the risk of recidivism by 50%, according to the Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti.