Belgium: New report highlights “intolerable” detention conditions during prison strike

A new report describes the “disturbing situation” found by anti-torture committee experts during their inspection of some of Belgium’s prisons, during staff industrial action.

In its report today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) publishes its findings from a May 2016 visit to Huy, Ittre and Jamioulx prisons, as well as in the social defence establishment (EDS) in Paifve.

In the establishments visited, virtually all prison staff were absent from their posts due to an ongoing strike, and the prisons were functioning solely due to the efforts of management staff and a handful of volunteer prison and health service employees assisted by police officers, or other reassigned staff.

Accoding to the report, “this, however, was not sufficient to ensure acceptable conditions of detention.

“Consequently, the vast majority of prisoners interviewed during the visit had been unable to leave their cells to exercise, take part in activities, or use the telephone for around two weeks.

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