Friday, 14 November 2014
In a statement last Friday, the SPF Justice announced that the new forensic psychiatric centre (CPL), located in Ghent, would receive its first patients next week. Inmates will be transferred from prison to receive “therapy and appropriate psychiatric supervision in a high-security environment.” The centre will be able to accommodate more than 250 patients by the end of 2015.
The CPL has several therapeutic departments that inmates will pass through – namely the “orientation/ observation”, the “intensive treatment”, the “care” and the “social reintegration” units. Social protection committees will determine which inmates shall be transferred to Ghent, based on expert assessments and information given by psychosocial services and prison service management boards.
According to Minister of Justice Koen Geens, faster, higher-quality patient reception, in a suitable environment, will allow inmates to be guided more easily through the usual care process. Belgian Prison Service General Director, Hans Meurisse, is also delighted with the facility. “These days, inmates stay far too long in the psychiatric annexes of prisons. And although they do have care teams, the situation is in no way comparable to the equipment and staff available in a psychiatric hospital or a CPL.”
Eventually, inmate accommodation capacity will increase by nearly 500 places, in Flanders. Indeed, the Ghent CPL will be able to house 264 inmates by the end of 2015. 180 further places will be added in a similar CPL, in Antwerp, expected to be operational in 2016.