Fifty-five judges will live for two days the life of a prisoner inside a prison that will be opened soon
Fifty-five judges at Belgium they chose to spend a special weekend: they voluntarily locked themselves up in a prison in the Brussels region to see for two days and one night what the life of a prisoner is like, as the Belgian Minister of Justice says in a statement Vincent van Quinkenborn.
The judges arrived this morning at 09.00 local time at his new prison Harenwhich can accommodate 1,190 inmates and is scheduled to open its doors on September 30, as he explained to AFP a representative of the prison authorities.
The judges will have the same treatment as the prisoners until the end of the “experiment” tomorrow at 16:00, as she clarified.
“Judges obviously know what it’s like inside a prison but getting the experience themselves provides them with a unique opportunity that could help them impose sentences with full awareness.“, continued the minister.
They will follow the prisoners’ daily schedule, will not be allowed to use their mobile phones, will follow the same diet and have the same responsibilities as the prisoners. Among other things, they will be employed in the kitchen and laundries, as emphasized in the announcement.
If forced or for any other reason, the judges will be able to stop the experiment at any time.
“This will undoubtedly help them to consider whether deprivation of liberty is the best solution for someone who has made a mistake in their life” said the minister.
In addition, it is also a good “rehearsal” for the prison officials as the prison will be inaugurated in two weeks.
The initiative belongs jointly to the Minister of Justice, Ms Correctional Service and the Judicial Training Institute.
The new prison in Haren it will replace prisons Sausage, Cent–Cymbal and Berkendel with the main difference being that it is essentially a prison village with smaller buildings and separate cells for the prisoners each holding about 30. In this way the prisoners will be separated according to their age and the nature of their offence.