France has been accused of having a neo-colonial view in the way it treats prisoners in its overseas territories.
A lawyer, Thibault Millet, has told media in Tahiti that more than 100 inmates in French Polynesia have been compensated by the French state for the poor conditions they have been held in.
He says courts have ordered 450,000 US dollars to be paid out to inmates of Nuutania jail, which has been repeatedly found to be overcrowded.
An equally negative assessment has been made of the Camp Est prison in New Caledonia.
The lawyer says there is a shocking difference between the way imprisoned people are being treated in mainland France and in the overseas territories.
Mr Millet suggests that in the absence of better prisons, the state should consider alternative methods of punishment to incarceration.