Last year, three detainees escaped from Belgian prisons in Nivelles, Merksplas, and Kortrijk, a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Penitentiary Establishments (EPI) told the Belga news agency.
On 10 February, one inmate at the Merksplas prison in the province of Antwerp hid in a truck belonging to a laundry company in a bid to escape the facility. When the driver noticed the stowaway, the prisoner fled and was quickly detained by police. Twenty minutes after his escape was reported, he was behind bars once again.
In another incident on 12 September, in the Nivelles prison in Walloon Brabant, an inmate managed to evade the surveillance of Walloon prison guards. To escape, he managed to hop on a bicycle and elude police for a short time. But just one hour later he was detained and brought back to jail.
Finally, on 18 November, a detainee escaped from the Kortrijk detention centre in West Flanders. He managed to evade recapture for five days until police caught up with him in nearby Roeselare. In his bid to escape, the prisoner broke into a house and jumped off a roof, spraining his ankle. Following his fall, police were able to detain the subject.
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In 2021, Belgian prisons recorded four escapes. This included three from high-security prisons in Ghent and Arlon and one from a low-security prison in Marneffe.
Belgian prison authorities have significantly reduced successful escapes. In 2020, six inmates escaped. In 2019, there were record-breaking 22 escapees.