In new prisons like Lyon-Corbas, there is a gym and a library that can each hold six prisoners at once, and a computer room to help obtain professional diplomas. It was equally possible for these activities to occur or halt, depending, as ever, on the goodwill of the Chief Custody Officer. Yard time was limited. We were truly made to feel like prisoners.
As I was a “ranked” prisoner, my days went by quickly. The wait had turned into everyday life. I started out as an assistant: distributed meals on my floor, cleaned, dumped everyone’s garbage. Eventually, I became an assistant in the basement, which involved cleaning the activity rooms, the sports hall, the Chief’s office, and the walkways (at hours when the prisoners weren’t allowed to be there). As a result of this job, I earned the trust of the Chief Custody Officer, assumed the post of librarian, and the ability to “sail” smoothly from one building to the other.
Weekends were different. Other than walking, there was nothing to do. It was then that I felt imprisoned. We had no other choice than to accept the situation and tell ourselves that the door ultimately opens for everyone.
Time passed quickly in winter, and slowly in summer. The days were longer, and we had to endure the heat. In Corbas, the cells had showers. It’s much better in summer even though you have to ask to lower the temperature of the water, which cannot be done from the cell, but through the maintenance service managed by the Eiffage group.