Marc Nève. Solitary confinement cells include both disciplinary cells[^cachot] and security cells, which are intended for individuals convicted of terrorism and placed under the specific individual security regime (régime de sécurité particulier individuel, RSPI). These are two very different things, but they are both still solitary confinement cells. Disciplinary cells are used for several purposes which, in my opinion, are not always consistent. Their primary function is, of course, as punishment. It means isolating a prisoner on account of an offence committed in the ordinary prison regime. However, it is harder to determine the reasons for which a prisoner is placed in a security cell. The register that states who is sent to solitary confinement, and why, is not always complete, and therefore not always reliable. It may show that the measure is disciplinary and for enforcement purposes without detailing the specific reasons behind selecting the measure.
Sometimes, the prisoners themselves request to be placed in disciplinary cells. This is why I say they are used inconsistently: in these cases, solitary confinement is not being used solely as a disciplinary measure. Some prisoners make this request in the hopes of having an immediate audience with the prison governor. When solitary confinement cells are in use, the prison governor is required to complete a circuit of the cells every day. Some see disciplinary cells as an opportunity to speak with the governor on a regular basis, which would be inconceivable in an ordinary prison regime.
Lastly, solitary confinement cells are also used to hold prisoners convicted of acts of terrorism. These are not punishment cells: they are security cells, and the prisoners are subject to the specific individual security regime (RSPI).
The two types of cells do not have the same purpose. One aims to discipline, while the other serves to heighten surveillance of a prisoner that belongs to a particular category.