How to complain

If you believe that your human rights have been violated, you have the right to complain about such a violation. This is important to stop an ongoing violation, prevent future violations or to get compensation.

You should complain locally first – to the French authorities and courts. International and European institutions will not accept your claim if you have not first tried to complain to the local institutions. You can only go to international and European institutions if you think that the violation of your rights has not been remedied by French institutions.

Complaints to prison administration

Prison staff and the head of your prison are responsible for the maintenance of good conditions and order at the prison. They are supervised by the Interregional Directorate of Prison Services (Direction Interrégionale des Services Pénitentiaires or DISP), which is supervised by the Directorate of Prison Administration (Direction de l’Administration Pénitentiaire or DAP). Therefore, you should generally submit all complaints about the prison staff or fellow inmates to the head of the prison first, then to the Interregional Directorate of Prison Services, and finally to the Directorate of Prison Administration.

Specific complaints

In some situations you have to submit your complaint to special institutions created for dealing with a specific type of claim, such as the investigation of crimes or the assessment of the quality of medical care.

Read about different complaint procedures:


Last updated 27/07/2023