Expatica news

Minister urges action over prison capacity

9 May 2006

BRUSSELS — There are 9,695 people being detained in Belgian jails despite the fact there is capacity for just 8,311 prisoners, Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx admitted on Monday.

The Socialist PS minister told Parliament that one-third of the detainees are being held on remand, while no places at a specialised institute are available for 714 inmates.

There are 9,250 men being detained in prison and 445 women, news agency Belga reported.

In answering questions from Christian Democrat CD&V MP Tony Van Parys and Liberal VLD MP Sabien Lahaye-Battheu, Onkelinx reminded the parliament that a series of measures had already been implemented to resolve the overcrowding.

She said the number of detainees under electronic supervision (355) has not increased despite increased personnel.

Onkelinx said she has “demanded that the number must increase to 450 by June and to 600 by the end of the year”.

She said it was unacceptable that a contract stipulating an increase in the number of prisoners placed under electronic supervision is not being met.

Onkelinx also pointed to the increase in the number of alternative sentences being handed down. In 2002, there were 18,034 alternative sentences compared with 24,539 last year.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news