Investigations Testimonial

Belgium: locked-up outside

How does someone truly become free? Marcus spent his childhood in a children’s home before serving more than 20 years in prison. He has never known anything other than confinement.

THE PRISON DOOR slams behind him. Suddenly, the prisoner is free. It has been a long time since he tasted freedom. So long in fact, that he has forgotten how to enjoy it.
When physical confinement ends, another type of imprisonment takes over. The ex-prisoner finds himself in a mental prison that takes years to free himself from. Former inmates, charities and psychologists have all described the path to reintegration as gruelling hard work, but it is not impossible. Report.

— This article was written by second year Masters students at the École Universitaire de Journalisme (ULB), Brussels, 2019. This article has been republished here with their permission.

Prison is nothing more than a “human tragedy”. This is why, even today, it is impossible for him to refuse helping a fugitive.

Marcus cannot free himself of the mental prison that he has built all his life.

”What we expect of a prisoner, is that they become independent."


It is often in their heads that the fight to reintegrate plays out.