Moving home can be one of life’s biggest headaches which is only part of the reason why France’s biggest ever prisoner transfer began before the crack of dawn.
More than 430 inmates have been taken from two of the countries oldest and most decrepid jails in the southern city of Lyon to a brand new facility. The top secret operation involved more than 1,000 police and security personnel. Colonel Jean-Philippe Guérin was in charge: “The main danger is that some prisoners might escape. But there’s also a risk of a rebellion because not all inmates want to move to another jail.” While not everyone will be happy to remain locked up, the new purpose built prison, situated in Corbas, south of Lyon, is a dramatic change of surroundings. There is a football pitch and workshops where prisoners can learn a trade. Individual toilets and showers are also among some of the significant improvements compared to the dark, damp and rat-infested cells found in the old jail; conditions which have often been blamed for contributing to many suicides.