The prison administration is responsible for your wellbeing while you are in prison, including your physical and mental health.

If you need medical attention, the prison administration must make sure that you are seen by the appropriate doctor without unjustified delay.

Medical treatment & human rights

To evaluate whether the medical treatment in prison complies with human rights standards, you must pay attention to these basic questions:

  • Did you have access to a doctor when it was necessary?
  • Were you examined properly?
  • Were you treated effectively?


Most of the medical care is provided to you free of charge. French law states that prisoners are covered by the general health insurance scheme as of the date of their imprisonment. This means that you will not have to pay for medical services such as medical consultations, medication, hospitalization costs, pregnancy-related health costs etc.

exception Some medical services are not covered by the French health insurance, for example optical and dental prosthesis costs. But according to French law, if you don’t have enough money to cover these expenses, the prison administration can pay it for you.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain what medical care and treatment should be ensured and when the lack of it could lead to a violation of your human rights.


Last updated 09/11/2023