There are 148 inmates in Belgian prisons who are forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor due to issues with overcrowding.
The information comes from a request made by Annick Lambrecht to Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne, reports De Standaard.
The situation is “dangerous” and “unacceptable,” according to Lambrecht.
Crowding in Belgian prisons leading to such sleeping conditions isn’t new. In 2018, 125 prisoners were sleeping on mattresses on the ground for the same reason. The number decreased to almost zero under Former Justice Minister Koen Geens, but now it has risen once again.
The majority of the prisoners forced to sleep on the floor are incarcerated in Antwerp (78), followed by Ghent with 32 such inmates and Bruges with 25.
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The arrangements are especially dangerous “in times of covid where keeping distance is a must,” Lambrecht said.
“These detainees are really not being prepared for reintegration into society this way.”
Some prisons (such as Hasselt and Genk) are using bunk beds to address the problem, according to Minister Van Quickenborne. Another solution proposed is making the judicial process faster.
Currently, 38% of the prison population is in pre-trial detention, meaning that they are incarcerated while awaiting a trial.
The Brussels Times