Justice Department present at Maanrock festival to recruit extra prison staff

Justice Department present at Maanrock festival to recruit extra prison staff
Saint-Gilles Prison. Credit: Belga / Jonas Roosens

Following its recruitment campaign at the Alcatraz metal festival in Kortrijk in early August, the Justice Department is now heading to the Maanrock city festival in Mechelen in an effort to new prison and detention staff.

In the next two years, the Justice Department is looking to fill 1,200 positions of various profiles in prisons, including penitentiary surveillance assistants, psychologists, social workers, nurses and administrative profiles.

"There is a shortage in the labour market. Not only companies are looking for suitable candidates for their vacancies, this is also the case in Belgium's Justice department," said Belgium's Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne.

"That is why, for the first time, we have drastically accelerated the recruitment procedures and are looking much more actively for the right people," he added. "We have to do this in the right place. I am sure that we will find those candidates at festivals."

Looking for over 300 people

At the Alcatraz festival, the campaign was declared a great success: 200 participants took part in the 'Escape from Alcatraz' game, which resulted in 40 candidates applying for a job in the prison system.

This time, recruitment officers will pitch their tent at the Maanrock city festival in Mechelen. Van Quickenborne believes this is the ideal base to look for new employees for the new prison in Haren, but also for the prisons in Mechelen and the prisons in the province of Antwerp.

For the opening of the new prison in Haren (in Brussels), the authorities are looking for more than 300 new people: mainly security staff (250), administrative profiles (26) and nursing staff (32). Haren prison will also be the first prison to introduce the two new positions, security assistant and detention supervisor.

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Visitors will be given information about the jobs, the vacancies in the various prisons and how to apply. Several penitentiary security officers will be present to share their experiences with the visitors.

For Van Quickenborne, a modern prison policy must provide tailor-made guidance to promote the reintegration of detainees and avoid recidivism, but there currently is insufficient room for meaningful detention and working on reintegration due to the lack of staff.

Since this summer, vacancies in prisons have been filled by means of an accelerated recruitment procedure, whereby suitable candidates can start work within a few weeks on the basis of a one-year contract that can be extended for another year.

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