The difference between taule and arrêts simples, or, more correclty between arrêts de rigueur and arrêts simples is that during the day he is at the disposition of the Service Général (General Service, in charge of barracks maintenance). They have certain jobs around the camp which must be carried out by the prisoners. It can be anything from painting the chapel to collecting and breaking rocks for an extension to the regiment's museum, to cleaning out the pilots hotel at the end of the camp. That is where the crew stay when they are there during jump weeks. Otherwise it's up to the garde punis to find them work. Over two weekend we turned a waste ground near the Sgt's living quarters into a bar-b-que and pick-nick area. Or weeding out of the backs of companies which are away overseas for four months.
If he received arrêts simples, he does everything that he would normally do in his company and join the jail at 18:00 hours to carry on working with the other prisoners. On a Friday evening they join the prisoners and go back to their companies on Monday mornings (no short-term leave).
The cell is made up of normal building material, i.e. bricks and cement with a normal slate roof. No heating and two metal grids out of reach for aeration. The time spent in jail (nowadays) does not effect your 5 years contract. To make it clear, if you spent 30 days in jail you will NOT do 5 years and 30 days.
Normally in your first year in Calvi you are confined to the island. This basically is up to the company captain. If you are due to go overseas than the captain may allow you 2 weeks off and allow you to go to the mainland. I mean who would be dumb enough to desert before going to Africa for four 4 months? And if they did, they would be quickly replaced. You got all those CCS boys who wanted to get out of a combat company, but miss the extra money and the break in the routine.