Monday, July 4, 2022

Prison Life in Monaco

No, it’s not a title for gay porn but in actual fact a real place in Monaco.

The Remand Prison is not a big topic of conversation or really well known by those visiting the Principality on holiday but there have been plenty of urban myths about the place.

After all, those who come to Monaco are surrounded by excessive wealth whether it be by the ultra-expensive sports cars whizzing by, the abundance of luxury boutiques, breathtaking 5-star hotels, and of course the Prince’s Palace, along with royal history, just to name a few things.

All this and the fact that Monaco is known around the world as being one of the safest places to reside in with more police per capita than anywhere else in the world makes it feel untouchable by crime.

The Remand Prison in Monaco is remarkably well hidden yet also out in the open with a fortress-type wall that runs towards the sea along a cliff with a view of the Mediterranean next to the Oceanography Museum and in front of the open-air cinema.

Hanging out with locals, if the subject of the prison in Monaco comes up, people tend to roll their eyes and even laugh about the place because of the supposed reputation for it being like staying in a 5-star hotel. But those that have been placed there or have visited people there tend to say it’s the real deal.

The Remand Prison was founded at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1986, the Government of the Principality carried out renovations to expand the Remand Prison to three cell blocks. The rumored seaside views are very few and small and all but a myth. Only three cells in the prison have a seaside view and those are located in the women’s section and reserved for those serving long sentences. The views can only be seen through a small window with bars.

Just a short walk from the Prince’s Palace, the discreet property is located mostly underground, with small passageways, very little natural light, plenty of humidity, and minimal recreational spaces for inmates, and is far from anything fancy you’d have in mind being in Monaco.

A friend of mine originally from the UK was once drunk at the port with friends and told me how he made the stupid decision to try and drive out of the Principality after a night out drinking while trying to outrun the police in his car when he was arrested at the border.

He was processed and ended up staying in the prison for a few days. The friend mentioned it wasn’t luxurious in the least but did give him time to think about his actions in what he felt was a safe environment. He was given three-course meals and an older prisoner taught him how to play chess. He mentioned he wouldn’t want to go through all that again but the experience did make him reflect on his life more. 

The prison director has recently expressed that the detainees’ only deprivation inside is their freedom.

Prisoners are protected from all forms of violence and fights are avoided by keeping certain inmates separated. The health of inmates is monitored with doctor’s exams 24 hours after their arrival. The medical office is made up of three nurses, a doctor comes three times a week, a dentist every two weeks, plus a psychologist visits twice a week, and a psychiatrist once a week.

There are five visiting rooms and no separation barriers between detainees and visitors. Most jail cells are equipped with a TV, fridge, and air conditioning. And inmates have the opportunity to be paid for odd jobs around the prison, including painting or small repairs.

So overall the Remand prison is known for being comfortable, but with a court system that favors maximum sentences for even the smallest of crimes, it’s probably better to behave oneself.

Plus, reputation is everything. Not only in Monaco but the surrounding region in France.

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