Test run of a new prison: 55 lawyers voluntarily imprisoned in Belgium

Test run of a new prison
55 lawyers voluntarily imprisoned in Belgium

In Belgium, 55 judges and prosecutors are currently learning first-hand about life behind bars. Before a new prison opens, they will be locked up there in realistic conditions. But there is one major difference for future prisoners.

In Belgium, 55 prison judges and prosecutors volunteered to experience prison conditions first-hand. Belgian Justice Minister Vincent van Quekenborn said they would be treated there as prisoners until Sunday afternoon. She added in a statement that the arrest should be as realistic as possible.

“Of course judges and prosecutors know how a prison works,” Van Quekenborn said. However, experiencing this for yourself can help law enforcement officials enforce justified rulings.

The trial is taking place in the town of Haren in the Brussels region, where a new prison with a capacity of 1,200 prisoners is due to open at the end of September. According to Van Queckenborn, the campaign gives prison staff a chance to prepare for work at the facility.

Family visits yes, cell phones no

The statement stated that the judges and prosecutors volunteered for the trial. They must comply with the instructions of the prison staff and not allow them to use their cell phones. On the other hand, family visits can be received as with real prisoners.

The 55 volunteers are also required to do kitchen and laundry work during their stay. The Ministry of Justice said the lights go out at 10 p.m. Unlike real prisoners, volunteers can stop the experiment at any time – for example, if they have “trouble adjusting to being in prison”.


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