Violence, acts of protest, prison conditions, justice reforms: find out what is new about prisons and justice in this country. Prison Insider monitors the press on a regular basis.
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19/11/2021.Two inmates cause disturbance in Hasselt prison
Two inmates of the Hasselt prison caused a disturbance and tried to start a fire during a walk on Thursday evening. The inmates refused to allow some prisoners to return to their cells and demanded a third daily walk, according to Belga News Agency. The prisoners eventually returned and the situation calmed down. “The staff inside the prison were able to prevent a further escalation” said prison administration spokesperson Kathleen Van De Vijver. Due to health measures related to the coronavirus pandemic, inmates are normally only allowed one hour twice a day for walking. However, in Hasselt they can go out for an hour and a half twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. — The Brussels Times
06/07/2021. No more prison sentences for minor offences, announces justice minister
With the new penal code expected to come into force in 2022, Belgian judges will no longer be able to impose imprisonment on those committing the lightest offences. The category of offences which will no longer carry a prison sentence includes minor forms of vandalism, such as graffiti, or certain traffic offences where there are no victims. Violations of the health rules put in place to fight against the coronavirus will also no longer lead to imprisonment, says the minister. — The Bulletin
25/06/2021. Parliament approves new rules for short-term prison sentences
The federal parliament yesterday gave its approval to a proposal aimed making it easier for people sentenced to a short term in prison to request alternative types of supervision. At present, the law says that a person sentenced to less than three years can only request an alternative such as house arrest, night-only detention (for those with jobs) or an electronic ankle-bracelet after they have served one-third of their sentence. In practice, however, those with sentences of under three years rarely even see the inside of a prison, mainly for reasons of over-crowding. But those who request an alternative still have to go inside to make the request. The new bill would make it possible to make the request while at liberty, which would go some way to easing the pressure on prisons. However some offences will be excluded from the new procedure, depending on the gravity of the offence. — The Brussels Times