Taubira was watching the basketball competition organised between inmates and prison guards at Fleury-Mérogis jail in Paris on Friday, when a 22-year-old Georgian inmate escaped the surveillance of his guards and fled the prison.
The inmate who was not named in the French press belonged to the prison basketball team, French radio Europe 1 reports.
Taubira, who was appointed justice minister last week by President Francois Hollande, met the detainees and watched the match.
But when the prison guards wanted to take the winning team back to its jail, they noticed one of the players had vanished. According to the French press, guards do not yet know how or when he managed to escape.
The Georgian inmate was in prison for theft and handling stolen goods - and was set to be released from jail next next year.