The site dedicated to providing support and care in the Family Reception area

Centre pénitentiaire de Châteauroux

Le Craquelin, 36000 Châteauroux

GEPSA holds a contract awarded by the Prison Service.

We are committed to offering you the best possible conditions when you visit the Family Reception area, in partnership with local associations.
Our staff take appointments by telephone.

Our staff are on hand in the reception area to inform you and guide you, for example :

  • to reserve a visit
  • on opening hours
  • on the options for caring for children
  • to access the facility

Visiting Permit

To visit a person who has been detained you must obtain a visiting permit and reserve a visit.

The visiting permit is
personal and nominative.

Each visitor (including children)
must first obtain a visiting permit before making an appointment
for a visit.

A visiting permit may be issued to people other than the family under certain conditions.

If the person detained is transferred, the visiting permit remains valid regardless of the destination.

Obtaining a visiting permit

Draw up your visiting permit application file by completing the forms and providing all the necessary supporting documents.
If the file is incomplete, illegible or incorrect, it will be rejected.

To whom should the file be addressed ?

  • For an “accused” person, that is to say, a person awaiting judgement or whose sentence is not final, to the :
    Magistrate in charge of the case at the competent District Court (court in charge of the case)
  • For a person who has been “detained”, that is, convicted and whose conviction is final, to the :
    Directeur, Centre Pénitentiaire de Châteauroux
    Le Craquelin BP 549 36021 Châteauroux Cedex
    +33 (0)2 54 53 40 00

For more information, contact the surveillance staff of the family shelter
Tel.: 02 54 53 44 59

Documents for obtaining the visiting permit

Portable Document Format (PDF), 190 КO
Portable Document Format (PDF), 274 КO

Reserving a visit

Reminder : You must have received a letter from the prison authorities approving your visiting permit beforehand.

Upon receipt of this approval you will be able to make an appointment to visit on the terminals provided for this purpose in the reception area for families.

A member of the GEPSA reception staff will help you to use it.


  • It is mandatory that the first appointment for a visit be made by phone at the following free number: 0 800 032 800.
  • A GEPSA staff member will answer you from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm.
  • For people who do not reside in the Department, or in case the terminal is not available, the reservation for your visit can be made by telephone.

Visiting procedures

For an appointment to visit, each visitor must bring :

  • A valid identity card. The visitor must hand it in when entering the facility and may recover it on leaving.
  • For visitors accompanying a child, the family booklet to prove the family relationship

Number of visits authorised

    3 visits per week
    2 visits per week (extra visit possible on Tuesday or Thursday)

Number of visitors authorised per visit

  • A maximum of 3 people
    (1 child under the age of 13 years counts as ½ person)
  • Visitors who are minors under the age of 18 must have the authorisation of both parents or the person who has parental authority and must be accompanied by a person of legal age, who holds a visiting permit.

Visitors’ personal effects

There are lockers in the building for the reception of families: there visitors may leave their personal belongings that are not allowed in the facility (e.g.: handbags, cellphones, cigarettes, cash, etc.)

Person with reduced mobility

There are rooms designed for people with reduced mobility. The visitors concerned can have an appointment in this room, but they must make the request to the director of the facility, accompanied by a disability card.


Visitors must pass under a metal detection checkpoint to enter the penitentiary, therefore, to facilitate access:

  • People with a medical prostheses must inform the prison authorities and produce a medical certificate.
  • Visitors should avoid wearing metal accessories: jewellery, metal buckles (shoes, belts), watches, etc.

Cases where visitors can be refused access to the visiting room

  • Visitors without a visiting permit
  • Visitors without an identity card
  • Visitors who did not make an appointment for a visit
  • Visitors who do not comply with the security rules of the facility
  • Visitors who are late

Reception of children

The GEPSA reception staff are qualified to receive children over 3 years old.
Visiting a detained person who is a divorced or separated parent implies that the latter prove his right of access to his underaged child.
Visitors who are minors under the age of 18 must have the authorisation of both parents or of the person with parental authority and be accompanied by a person of legal age, who also holds a visiting permit.


Portable Document Format (PDF), 137 КO

Before the visit

In the reception area for families, activities are offered to children during the waiting period. During this period, the child shall remain under the full responsibility of the attendant, who will supervise the child.

Some equipment, such as: a changing table, a cot, a bottle warmer, a microwave, etc. are at your disposal in the reception area for families.

During the visit

For parents with young children, you can enter the visiting room with some nursery items that must be put in transparent plastic packaging:

diapers, a prepared bottle or a small, sealed bottle of water, baby wipes, a “favourite teddy bear”, a pacifier.

For children over 3 years of age, who do not wish or are unable to attend the visit, and at the request of a parent, the reception staff may take care of the children of the person detained for free under 2 conditions:

  • The person making the request can prove parental authority over this child by producing the family book, his identity document, and an identity document or a birth certificate for the child concerned.
  • The person making the request must sign the GEPSA authorisation slip. If this document is not signed, the staff do not have the authorisation to take care of the child.

Visiting Hours

You are required to be present 30 minutes before the start time of your visit. Any delay will lead to the cancellation of the visit
To cancel an appointment: Use the terminals or contact us by phone at 0 800 032 800.

Maison d’arrêt – Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays

CALL TIME FOR FAMILIES Start of the visit End of the visit
01:00 pm 01:30 pm 02:30 pm
02:15 pm 02:45 pm 03:45 pm
03:30 pm 04:00 pm 05:30 pm

Opening days and hours of the reception area for families :
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 1 pm to 5:30 pm
Saturdays and Sundays, closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays: 08:45 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Detention Centre – Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays public holiday

CALL TIME FOR FAMILIES Start of the visit End of the visit
08:45 am 09:15 am 10:15 am
10:00 am 10:30 am 11:30 am
01:00 pm 01:30 pm 02:00 pm
02:15 pm 02:45 pm 03:45 pm
03:30 pm 04:00 pm 05:00 pm

Sending money

Anyone who has been detained holds a personal account. CThis account allows him, for example, to “canteen” (to buy canteen products), to build a nest egg, or to meet potential obligations to compensate victims.
This account is managed by the Accounting Department of the facility (Registrar of personal accounts). The amounts paid are allocated to the savings available for the person detained according to the rules defined in the Criminal Procedure Code.

Provisioning the account

The personal account can be provisioned :

  • by amounts earned by the detained person within the institution (for example, by working in the workshops or in the general services)
  • by external transfers

Sending transfers

Cash, chequebooks or bank cards are PROHIBITED while in detention.

Postal money orders no longer exist.

Portable Document Format (PDF), 122 КO

By bank transfer

  • Via the bank or via Internet
  • Fill in the transfer order by completing the three sections :
  1. The beneficiary  : Registrar of the personal accounts of the Centre Pénitentiaire de Châteauroux
  2. The Bank Account Identification : that of the Registrar of personal accounts of the facility (see below)
  3. The section marked “optional or free” or “reason for the transfer” (31 characters): indicate the number (space), last name (space) and first name of the person detained (must be indicated in this order)

By judicial money order

  • Collect the judicial money order form in the family reception area
  • Go to a post office, with your identification card
  • Pay the amount to transfer and fill out the slip
  • Send the first part of the slip by mail to the facility, indicating the last name, first name and number of the person detained

Any transfer for which the information is incomplete, illegible or incorrect shall be rejected and returned to the sender. If the person detained is soon to be released or transferred, it is best to avoid making a transfer.

Contacting a person who has been detained

It is impossible to phone people who are incarcerated, but they can call you under certain conditions.
In the event of a serious or important event, contact the Insertion and Probation Advisor
at 02 54 53 40 11

Authorised contents of mail

  • stamps (maximum 10)
  • envelopes, writing paper
  • family photographs
  • any document relating to family life and allowing the exercise of parental authority

Prohibited contents of mail

  • No identity photos
  • No money (cheques, cash, …)

Write to a person who has been detained at the address of the facility :

Centre Pénitentiaire
Le Craquelin BP 549
36021 Châteauroux Cedex

Indicate on the envelope the last name and first name of the person detained, his number and cell number


No parcels may be given to a person who has been detained, except during the holiday season to send him food items. An information note will be posted in the family reception area at this time.

Bringing or picking up laundry

The facility has a laundry service that enables people who have been detained to have their laundry done for free. Families may bring or pick up laundry at this service.

Before obtaining a visiting permit

You can leave a bag of laundry only on the day of your visit during the call times

After obtaining a visiting permit

  • You may leave a bag of laundry at each visit.
  • Incoming laundry must be placed in a plastic bag, with or without a closing.
    “Sports” type bags, bags made of leather or bags with pockets are prohibited.
  • For all laundry, it is requested to present a piece of identification, to attach a list of incoming laundry and to indicate legibly on the bag :
  • Dirty laundry can be collected on leaving the visiting room.

Contents of the laundry bag authorised by the facility

Portable Document Format (PDF), 428 КO


Halte Familles

Association aims to welcome, support and accompany the families
and relatives of people who have been detained.

3 rue Combanaire 36000 CHATEAUROUX

02 54 07 32 07

Hours on duty at the Penitentiary
Monday 01:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wednesday 01:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Friday 01:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Saturday 8:45 am – 12:00 am / 01h00 pm – 05:00 pm
Sunday 8:45 am – 12:00 am / 01h00 pm – 05:00 pm

Notre rôle

The Halte Familles Association aims to welcome, support and accompany the families and relatives of people who have been detained.

Led by a team of volunteers who work to create a warm atmosphere so that the waiting time for visits is a friendly period, its actions focus on :

  • welcoming and listening to the families, children and relatives of people detained, with respect for their rights and their need for dialogue and/or solitude, in a climate of trust and neutrality
  • Information for families.
  • Any action that promotes the child-parent link in relation to the Penitentiary Insertion and Probation Service, as well as the services of the Relais Enfance Famille de l’Indre (REFI) Association.
  • Coordination and assistance with the use of different equipment (terminals, lockers …) in collaboration with the staff of the private partner.
  • Collaboration and the creation of activities and events for children together with the private partner.
  • Information on the transportation means and systems that enable access to the site.
  • Care of children under 3 years of age for the duration of the visit according to available space, respecting the rules for childcare and having the parent sign a letter of acceptance for the care of the children.


Association aims to welcome, support and accompany the families
and relatives of people who have been detained.

24 rue Saint-Exupéry 36000 CHATEAUROUX

02 54 07 67 74

Note: in 2017, the financial contribution was €12/night per adult, €5 per child and free for children under 5 years.

Our role

ALFAGE is a reception centre located in the city, which for 20 years has accommodated the families of people detained at the Maison centrale de Saint-Maur and the Centre Pénitentiaire de Châteauroux.

The Association provides 7 bedrooms (17 beds), a kitchen, a dining room and a garden, for weekends and visiting days authorised by the prison authorities.
The low prices charged to families explain the large number of 800 overnight stays per year.

The smooth organisation of the accommodation is ensured by the “reception” volunteers who offer to visitors, besides assistance with group life, a presence, a sympathetic ear and a smile…
Thus, this Association, in collaboration with the Penitentiary Insertion and Probation Service (SPIP), actively participates in the maintenance of family ties.

How to get to the facility