Bruges prison to get special wing for extremist inmates

Summary

The prison in Bruges is designating an isolation wing in the hope of preventing radicalisation of inmates while in jail

Countering radicalisation

Federal justice minister Koen Geens has decided to set up isolation wings in two Belgian prisons to separate inmates with extremist views from the general prison population, he told De Morgen. The plan was launched following terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen this year, together with the killing of two terrorists in the Walloon town of Verviers.

The wings will be located in Bruges prison, where 16 cells will be available, and in Ittre in Walloon Brabant, which will have capacity for 26 prisoners. The aim is to prevent prisoners being radicalised while serving prison terms by monitoring inmates’ opinions and placing them in the special wings if they develop extreme views.

Extra staff, including Muslim counsellors, will be trained to detect and counter extremism in prisons. A total of 27 counsellors will be employed across the two prisons. The plan, which copies an existing project in the Netherlands, will cost €7 million, Geens (pictured) told the newspaper.

Critics of the policy argue that it is risky to concentrate extremists in a single location where they can support and encourage one another.
Photo courtesy VRT