International audience "In the context of authoritarian restorations or post-conflict situations faced by many African societies, political incarcerations persist. They are accompanied by speeches on the radio, in the press or published essays and testimonies which are opportunities to build the prison as a public problem on national and international agendas, beyond the mere denunciation of the powers in place. However, outside these explicit moments of politicization of prison, it remains the domain of humanitarian intervention, focused on care. While it is of course important to analyze the effects of this action on the images and functioning of the prison system, this article proposes to take a step back by observing other modalities of challenging imprisonment and its conditions, revealing tactics of resistance and subversion by common law prisoners. Based on research conducted in three countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Ivory Coast), this article discusses the relationship to politics in prison. It is apprehended in its informal dimension, outside the official arenas, and seeks to reveal the processes of legitimization and delegitimization of actors and registers of prison criticism. Eventually we ask what is tolerated about prison functioning and, on the contrary, what elements would be intolerable?