Brussels, (Brussels Morning)- A delegation from the Central Supervisory Board for Prisons (CTRG) paid a second visit to the construction site of the future prison in Haren on 13 June. In response to this, it drafted a new opinion and considerably expanded its list of recommendations.
The first visit of the CTRG dates from November 23, 2021. Even then, the Supervisory Board recommended that the space for the walk should be large enough for actual physical activity, the layout of cells should be revised within the applicable international standards and each bed for fixation must be replaced by a bed worthy of the name. It also called for a complete overhaul of the “time-out” cell project. In its own words, the CTRG found that none of those recommendations were followed up.
The new visit leads to new recommendations. Within the highly secured wards, the CTRG notices that the feeling of seclusion is enhanced by the lack of a horizontal view in the cell. The delegation also saw a “total absence of a recreation room, with the exception of a small room intended as a fitness room”. They fear that the activities program for the detainees will be too limited.
Another remark is that the visiting areas have a glass partition. The detainees in a highly secured ward must be able to receive weekly visits in an open visiting room, according to the BRUZZ.
In the wards for detained women, the supervisory board asks for guarantees that an entire living unit will be reserved for mothers with children and pregnant women. The visit went through an equipped courtyard for children and there the CTRG asks that anything in this environment that resembles a prison or incarceration be limited as much as possible.
The Supervisory Board still sees a lack of clarity in terms of personnel. They doubt whether the 724 full-time equivalents will be filled, as there is already a staff shortage in 31 of the 35 prisons.
The CTRG requests the penitentiary administration and the Minister of Justice to inform as regularly, as completely and as transparently as possible about the personnel situation in the run-up to the imminent opening of Haren prison.