Mega-prison with a humane face
The new prison planned for the Haren neighbourhood in the north of Brussels will be a “prison village” with a “humane face”, according to secretary of state Servais Verherstraeten, announcing the plans last week. The complex, which will house 1,900 inmates and begin operating in 2017, will include a courthouse, a workshop, visiting rooms, a hospital and offices for staff.
Complex will house 1,900 inmates
There will be three men’s prisons, two for women, a youth detention wing and a section for those under psychiatric internment. The new prison, the largest in the country, will replace outdated buildings at Vorst and Sint-Gillis and the women’s prison at Berkendael, as well as providing more capacity for the overcrowded prison system.
The complex is the subject of opposition from local people for the amount of open land it will take up and the cumulative effect with other on-going projects, including social housing and new premises for Nato. Verherstraeten pointed out that the architects had made creative use of the area’s varying terrain to provide local residents and the prison’s inmates with “a variety of views”. Construction work is due to begin in 2015, and the complex will cost an estimated €331 million.