Detention conditions “ever more difficult” in Saint-Gilles prison
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    Detention conditions “ever more difficult” in Saint-Gilles prison

    Overpopulation, the shortage of resources and the non-entry into force of the entire set of rules on prison administration are leading to “ever more difficult” detention conditions in Saint-Gilles prison. The position is stated in the annual report of the Surveillance Board released on Wednesday. It “urgently” requests additional resources to improve prisoner living conditions.

    The conclusions by the Surveillance Board, which exercises independent monitoring, at Saint-Gilles prison, agree with those of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe, during its last visit in 2017. The Board indicates that in its own report it states that the most worrying problem is overpopulation (50%), which in particular creates tensions between prisoners and increases prison staff workload. The Board says that the situation is “particularly alarming”.

    The Board also deplores the “recurrent” shortage of personnel, as well as material and financial resources, “however necessary to guarantee fair staff working conditions and human detention conditions for those detained.”

    The Surveillance Board of Saint-Gilles prison is therefore demanding additional resources, and the entry into force of the rules relating to prison administration, “so as to ensure that detention conditions comply with international standards.” It also hopes that the legislation around independent checks will be adapted and implemented, “in view of a necessary professionalization within the prison service.

    Despite these difficulties, the Surveillance Board welcomes the decrease in social tension, the renovation works carried out, and the resumption of collective activities amongst prisoners such as fitness activities, using the library and training activities.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times