Moving away from a reading of prison institutions in Africa as manifestations of failed states this paper aims to contextualise health in an economy of value that is specific to places of confinement. It is based on fieldwork carried out in MACA (the largest Ivorian prison located in Abidjan). There, notions such as health or care and practices associated with them (i.e. giving food, accessing the infirmary) are granted different values (Appadurai, Arjun. 1986. Introduction: Commodities and the Politics of Value. In The Social Life of Things. Commodities in a Cultural Perspective, edited by Arjun Appadurai, 3–63. Cambridge: CUP) that testify of the coexistence of two political regimes: necropolitics (Mbembe, Achille. 2003. Necropolitics, Public Culture, 15(1):11–40) and politics of life (Fassin, Didier. 2009. Another Politics of Life is Possible, Theory, Culture & Society, 26(5):44–60). The recognition of the necropolitical dimension of prison experience has implication on the understanding of Ghetto life as Prison and Ghetto meet and mesh (Wacquant, Loic. 1999. Les Prisons de la Misère. Paris: Raisons d’Agir).