Contact with the outside world

All prisoners have the right to receive visits


There are two types of visitation rights granted to a prisoner :

  • Regular visits by a family member or a relative. These visits take place twice a week for a maximum of one hour.
  • Extended visits by a family member or a loved one on a special occasion. The visits are put into place six months after the prisoner has been administered.

Prisoners under a security regime are not allowed to receive extended visits.

Prisoners placed in solitary confinement temporarily lose access their right to receive visits (See section Solitary confinement).

The prisoner must follow procedures to receive visits, such as providing administration with the name of the visitor. The visitor himself will have to obtain a permit to finalise the process.

The visitor must present documents and paperwork as proof of identity and relation to the prisoner. He/she is then asked to complete a form which will be given to prison administration. The visitor must obtain a visitors permit within 30 days of completing the paperwork and his/her first visit, which then must be validated by the Directorate General (DGRSP). Once finalised, the visitor will be authorised to continue his/her visits.

Visit permits are granted

in less than one month

People eligible to visit


The law makes no distinction and only indicates that “every inmate has the right to receive visits”. The law also states that visits are intended for maintaining family, emotional and professional ties.

Prisoners receive two visits a week, each lasting up to one hour. These visits are preferably held during the weekends (article 111 of the Rules). The Institutional Head may authorize the accumulation of both visits on the same day.

The detainee can receive up to three people per visit. The substitution of one visitor for another during a visit is possible only if the visitor is a minor.

The detained person may, on their birthday, receive up to six visitors.

A visual control is exercised on the occasion of any parlor. This control is sometimes auditory.

The time spent on entry formalities is not counted.

Prisoners and visitors can meet without physical barriers


No separation device is usually present. The parlors of Monsanto Prison, the maximum-security institution, are the only ones with separation facilities.

Prisoners are allowed to receive visits from their children or minor relatives

yes, with special requirements provided

Children under 16 can visit a detained person only if he/she is a close relative (father, mother, brother or sister).

Penitentiary institutions may provide specific spaces for the visit. They getting closer to a familial environment (article 112 of the Regulations).

Conjugal visits are allowed


Conjugal visits are permitted when the detainee is not granted temporary permission. The law states that these visits are “regular”.

The detained person and the visitor must be over the age of 18, except if they are married (rule 120).

The conjugal visits are authorized by the director of the establishment.

Required conditions for conjugal visits

a current and continuous tie

The inmate must, by law, prove a stable emotional relationship. The minimum duration is not specified (article 59 of the Code of Execution of Sentences).

A detained person may apply for one conjugal visit per month. The conjugal visit has a maximum duration of three hours (rule 122).

The conjugal visits take place in an appropriate space. The penitentiary provides detainees with written information on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. The visitor is required to bring bed linen (article 123 of the Regulations).

The visitor is not authorized to hand over or receive any object or document directly from the detained person. It is obliged to go through the penitentiary service.
The visitor is authorized to deposit:

  • foodstuffs (drinks are not allowed)
  • books and magazines
  • photos, videos and games
  • money

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail

yes, under certain conditions

The prisoner may, at their expense, send and receive letters (article 67 of the Code of Execution of Sentences).

Mail exchanged is subject to control


The correspondence may be read, on the reasoned order of the prison director, in the event of a “reasonable suspicion” of a risk to the security of the prison. Correspondence can then be retained. The decision not to send correspondence to the detainee must be sent to a judge. This decision is subject to control.

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail in sealed envelopes


The sending by sealed envelope is provided by the regulation. The correspondence between the detained person and his or her lawyer must be confidential (article 61 of the Code of Execution of Sentences).

The correspondence may, in the presence of the detained person, be opened.

Prisoners are allowed to receive parcels

yes, under certain conditions

Detainees can receive parcels once a month. The parcel must not exceed five kilos. It cannot contain food. The sender must first be registered with the prison administration. As an exception, some prisoners who do not have regular visitors can receive two parcels per month of five kilos each. In this case they can also receive food, within a limit of one kilo

E-mail exchange is possible


Correspondence by e-mail is possible in certain exceptional situations. It requires a special decision from the prison director. The situation must be particularly urgent or particularly important.

Prisoners are allowed to make external phone calls


Detainees may make calls at their own expense. They may receive calls in case of particularly important personal or professional situations.

The general regulations of each institution may have restrictions on prisoners placed under a security regime. Decision of restrictions are the responsibility of the prison director.

Prisoners are allowed to call


A detained person has the right to make two phone calls a week of up to 10 minutes each. Each telephone call must be the subject of a specific request addressed to the director of the establishment, at least 24 hours before (article 49 of the Rules).

The detainee can reach their lawyer every day.

The restriction or prohibition of telephone calls does not constitute a disciplinary sanction. However, phone calls may be subject to restrictions or prohibitions. Only five numbers are allowed on the calling cards and it is necessary to indicate which ones.

The cost of phone calls is in line with market prices


Phones calls are wire tapped


Listening to phone conversations is not automatic. However, the director of the institution may decide to do it for security reasons (article 71 of the Code of Execution of Sentences).

The use of cell phones is authorised


Prisoners have access to video calls with external contacts


A videoconferencing device is set up for the prisoners justifying a long distance. Videoconferencing contacts must be authorized by the prison director at the request of the prisoner. The time during which the visit is interrupted by possible technical difficulties of operation is not considered as visiting time (article 117 of the Regulations).