Prison guards protest overcrowding
23 April 2007
BRUSSELS – Prison guards in Dendermonde started a protest this morning against the overcrowding and personnel shortages in prisons.
Works are currently underway and despite promises that extra guards would be on duty and fewer prisoners housed, this has not been the case, says Frank Moens, representative for trade union CCOD. The prison guards are therefore working Saturday shifts only starting Monday.
This means prisoners will be allowed outdoors less frequently and fewer visits will be allowed. “The men support us, because they know why we are doing this,” Moens said. “They are now sleeping two to a one-person cell. Some are together with three others in two-person cells.”
When work on the prison was started the unions say authorities promised that a maximum of 165 prisoners would be held at Dendermonde. “Since there is overcrowding all over the country we were willing to go to 175. But now there have been more than 190 for some time now,” Moens says.
The unions say both the overcrowding and the shortage of personnel, another problem that was supposed to have been dealt with, are the reasons behind the strike. If no solution is found by the end of the month, the unions are threatening to go on strike. The guards will work a weekend schedule until the end of April.
[Copyright Expatica news 2007]
Subject: Belgian news