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    Last maximum security prison complex in Belgium to shut down

    The last maximum-security complex in Belgium will shut down "in the coming weeks." Credit: © Belga

    The last three remaining inmates of a maximum-security complex in the prison of Bruges will be transferred out as the section prepares to shut down for good.

    A prison trade union and prison administration officials confirmed that the complex, the last one of its kind in Belgium, will close down “in the coming weeks,” according to De Standaard.

    Three inmates still housed in the Individual Special Security Regimes, placed there after authorities deemed they required stricter security conditions, will be transferred to other holding facilities.

    A spokesperson for penitentiary institutions in Belgium, Kathleen Van De Vijver, said it was “always intended” that the three inmates would eventually go back to a regular prison system, which would be provided with “maximum support” to ensure tightened security conditions are maintained.

    Van De Vijver said the decision to close the complex stems from the legal framework within which it operates, but also because it was becoming “increasingly difficult” to reconcile it with “the latest evolutions” regarding the study of prison populations, according to HLN.

    “We asked ourselves whether it is necessary to isolate prisoners in this way in a separate regime,” Van De Vijver told the outlet.

    The maximum-security prison was created during Jo Vandeurzen’s term as federal justice minister. It’s opening coincided with the notorious 2007 prison-break of Nordin Benallal, who escaped from the Ittre prison, located near Waterloo, by helicopter.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times