“This is an opportunity to catch up with me”: preparing a kitchen CAP in the prison, two inmates from the Bourges detention center try the experiment

On the menu that day at the Bordiot Retention Center in Bourges: fennel cream, duck aiguillettes, apple pie. No cooks behind the stoves, but budding clerks with a special status. Julian and David

his apprentices in the kitchen, but are mainly held in prison.

More culture in prison: French prisoners choose their Goncourt for the first time

The two 26-year-old men were offered an internship in the kitchen within the establishment by their integration and probation adviser. Bordiot Prison, like two other prisons in France, is piloting this system. Sébastien Leys, the director, explains:

“They start their cap in prison and eventually finish it outside, with a punishment adjustment. † Sebastien Leys

(director of Bourges prison)

In this system, the sentence enforcement judge, Mathilde Journiac, is a stakeholder alongside the Prison Integration and Probation Service (SPIP) and the Bordiot prison team.

For Pascal Vion, the interregional director of the Dijon prison services, on which the Bourges detention center depends, this experiment is part of a “decompartmentalization” objective:

“Prison is part of society, but it only lasts for a short time. We must respond to the challenges of reintegration. † Pascal Vion

(Interregional Director of Dijon Prison Services)

Back to basics… or total discovery

On the training side, the students, who started two months ago, are supervised by Sébastien Letellier, trainer at the IFA (school training institute) in Bourges. The trainer goes to jail four days a month. The rest of the time, the two men are trained by Saliou Diouf, the kitchen technician: “They discover the rhythm, the washing up, the cleaning. †

Solemn ceremony for the installation of the director of the Bordiot prison, in Bourges

“We are in the inclusion that learning strives for,” assures Sébastien Letellier. Even if that means adapting to the specific regime of detention. “It’s not easy to get up at 8 in the morning to start, the trainer recognizes. We are here to support them in difficult times. “The director of the detention center adds: “It can be difficult to work when the two of us are in a cell. “They have a double merit,” concludes Mathilde Journiac, the judge.

On the immaculate wall of the kitchen, a whiteboard lists the daily staff to be fed. Julien and David are integrated into the team that prepares the meals. For Julien, it’s a return to basics: “I went to hotel school in Vienne. But I didn’t graduate… It’s a chance to catch up. Everything is new for his cellmate:

“I discovered something in prison that I would never have known outside. It gives ideas. I found out you needed a CAP to open a restaurant! † David

(prisoner and apprentice)

Student future teachers

The two detainees agree that this detention time, combined with training, is “a blessing in disguise. We don’t waste our time.” “It would be ideal to find them at the IFA”, wishes Sébastien Letellier. Like external apprentices, David and Julien are paid during their training. Their salary is provided by the Agency for General Interest Work ( Atigip) When they leave, they are accompanied by Pôle emploi and the Local Mission to find companies where they can do an internship.

A health unit is dedicated to prisoners at Bordiot’s detention center in Bourges

But before that, from 16 to 20 May, they take their theory exam in detention. One line of thought is to suggest that future cooks become tutors for future learners, in turn transferring.


The first names have changed.

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