Tuesday, 24 December 2019
Two prison officers were injured after they were attacked by a prisoner on Monday evening, with one of them hospitalised for treatment.
An inmate staying in the psychiatric wing of the Merksplas prison, located near Turnhout, attacked two officers after a nurse repeatedly asked him to stop yelling, in an incident which was raised concerns about recent spikes of violence in prisons.
“We confirm there was a physical aggression in Merksplas prison between an intern and two officers,” Kathleen Van De Vijver, spokeswoman for the Prison System told De Standaard.
“One officer was taken to the hospital for further care. The internee, who was already staying in the crisis department, will be seen as soon as possible by the psychiatrist for further follow-up,” she added.
The second officer’s injuries did not require hospitalisation and were treated on-site, according to Het Nieuwsblad.
The incident sparked concerns about the safety of security personnel in prisons and follows news of a separate incident in a prison south of Charleroi, where an inmate attacked the prison director with a razor blade.
“We are worried about these violent incidents,” Van de Vijver said, adding that all prison employees, as well as other inmates, were potential targets.
The incident also follows a recent nation-wide strike among prison guards in early December, which lasted 24 hours and was organised in protest of prison overcrowding.
The Brussels Times