🤓 ik ben efkes in mijn pen geschoten : Open letter to the Council of Europe European Commission for the efficiency of justice.
June 29 2018
Dear members of the Council of Europe, European Commission for the efficiency of justice,
I feel obligated to inform your organisation about issues in our Belgian Justice system that are morally so wrong, I have no other choice than to report this.
Today I read in the Belgian newspapers that 3 prisoners in temporary custody are not sent back to detention because of so-called inhumane circumstances in the Belgian justice system.
Yes, the prison guards are, rightfully, on strike.
Year after year they were promised to get more help (through hiring new prison guards) to be able to give the prisoners the humane treatment they deserve.
In 2016 the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, promised better accomodation and more prison guards, measures to remedy overcrowded prisons but none of these promises have been kept.
So the prison guards are discontent, they see no-one listens to them and their concern is, although media and government always focus on their so-called illegitimate strike and not on the issues which are at the origin of the strike, the humane treatment of the prisoners with the means they have a right to.
Prison guards are supposed to keep all the prison issues inside their organisation (deontological code) which makes them vulnerable to attacks coming from the Justice minister himself and the media which are one-sidedly informed. They are scared to put the real issues on the table because of losing their job.
If I tell you that even toilet paper is an issue and that the paper goes tot he prisoners if there is no budget, it only gives you a tip of the budgettary problem.
The lack of budget to maintain a safe and practical and humane prison environment is the responsibility of the Belgian Department of Justice, is it not?
If the Minister of Justice fails to provide money to saveguard the prison environment, if the Minister of Justice allows for 8 prisoners in a room of 4, if the Minister of Justice allows for the prison guards to work 3 shifs in a row, it does not work conform its own Belgian law. No man/woman can work this kind of hours without recuperating properly and having health or family problems….
In Belgium most of the prison guards cannot take up their holidays or their surplus worked hours because there are not enough colleagues to back them up.
The so-called benefits as talked about in the media are no benefits tot he prison wardens this way.
And more, the young colleagues that start leave because of the unattractiveness and danger of the job. The employee flow towards the job is smaller than the flow of people leaving the job (because of the work circumstances and people that are taking up their pension).
And yes, do not forget, there is still the danger aspect.
No-one talks about it, people in general are quick to accuse when something goes wrong but is it not the Belgian Department of Justice which is responsable ?
To order the police to take up the wardens jobs during a strike in a larger number than the number of wardens that actually do the job or promoting them as being able to replace the wardens is completely wrong.
Neither the police nor the wardens are happy. Police is not supposed to allow the prisoners to walk and wash because they are not used to do that.
Using this argument to brand the wardens in the media as ‘uncaring’ because they deny the inmates their usual treatment is disforming reality. It is just to garanty a safe prison environment that they go on strike. Financially the strike diminishes their wage and if a lot of the wardens are still on strike, it is because they want these issues to be solved.
I am a caring person, who listens to people, who does not judge without informing myself but Belgium is completely out of order when releasing prisoners on ‘inhumane conditions’ without remediating the origin of this so-called ‘inhumanity’. I see more and more the tendency that media and government disform reality, to fit their own agenda.
Truth does not prevail anymore…
Please keep in mind that the prison wardens are there ‘for’ the prisoners, they want them to be incarcerated and doing their time in a humane way and they enjoy their job but there are limits as to safety of their own lives.
The above information I collected in the media is at least disturbing, as it is
2. Not an example of ‘good practice’ in times of terrorism and insecurity.
I address my concern to you because there is no way to make my concern heard in Belgium.
I would appreciate some kind of answer from your part on the matter.
Taking up the fight for them because they are deontologically unable to fight the system without repercussions.