Another 25 staff requisitioned during an indefinite strike in Belgian prisons, Groen calls on Minister Van Tigchelt to “de-escalate” the situation | Prisons

Another 25 staff requisitioned during an indefinite strike in Belgian prisons, Groen calls on Minister Van Tigchelt to “de-escalate” the situation | Prisons
Another 25 staff requisitioned during an indefinite strike in Belgian prisons, Groen calls on Minister Van Tigchelt to “de-escalate” the situation | Prisons
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About 25 staff members have been requisitioned for the morning and night shifts in the prisons. This was evident from an overview of the prison system on Wednesday. The staff members have been mobilized to provide minimal services in the prisons during the guards’ strike. In the meantime, the ruling party Groen is calling on Minister of Justice Paul Van Tigchelt (Open Vld) to “examine whether the execution of short sentences can – temporarily – be slowed down and possibly temporarily replaced by an increased use of electronic monitoring.” It is one of the crisis measures that the party is putting forward in tackling overcrowding and human rights violations in prisons.

An indefinite strike has been going on in Belgian prisons since 10 p.m. on Monday. The three major unions called for the action after consultations with Minister of Justice Paul Van Tigchelt (Open VLD) about overcrowding and staff shortages last week failed.

According to Groen, the situation is in danger of escalating and, according to the party, this “stands in the way of a structural solution to overcrowding in prisons”. Groen himself puts forward a number of options for this structural solution.

For example, the party is pushing for an accelerated rollout of the construction of detention houses and the reintroduction of early release for certain detainees who are less than six months from the end of their sentence and who meet certain conditions. “But this obviously does not concern detainees who are in custody because of terror or sexual offences,” explains justice specialist Stefaan Van Hecke.

Groen also calls for renewed attention to the problems of internees and the return of foreign criminals to other European member states. But Groen also asks that the choice for the effective execution of short sentences be re-examined, although the party puts it very carefully as “examining whether the execution of short sentences can – temporarily – be put at a slower pace and possibly can be temporarily replaced by increased use of electronic surveillance.”

Groen urges the minister to “de-escalate” the situation. Co-chairman Jeremie Vaneeckhout emphasizes the need for dialogue and cooperation between the minister and the prison guards. “Talking is necessary, more than ever,” says Vaneeckhout.

Claims

Just like Tuesday, staff members are mainly being requisitioned for the Flemish prisons: six people for the night shift and another fifteen for the morning shift.

The Brussels prisons also received the support of four police officers during the night. In Wallonia, the governors have not requisitioned staff members.

There are currently 12,058 detainees in Belgian prisons, the Directorate General of Penitentiary Institutions reports.

WATCH ALSO. Also yesterday, several provincial governors had to requisition staff members

Jailer testifies: “When you open the cell door in the morning, you bang on the head of a detainee who is forced to sleep on the floor”(+)

OUR OPINION. “Closing the prisons is madness. But it is also madness to tolerate medieval conditions in those prisons”(+)

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The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: staff requisitioned indefinite strike Belgian prisons Groen calls Minister Van Tigchelt deescalate situation Prisons

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