Haren prison ready to welcome first inmates: 'a milestone in the history of justice'

The official inauguration of the new prison in the Brussels municipality of Haren is a final step before the first inmates are welcomed in the middle of next month. For Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD), present at the inauguration, the opening is a ‘milestone in the history of justice’.

"This building is a flagship of the silent revolution in our prison system," Van Quickenborne said.

This new prison should alleviate the large overcrowding in Belgium's prisons, but also improve detention conditions and lead to better recidivism rates. That recidivism rate, of around 70 percent, is notoriously bad in Belgium. Van Quickenborne did not hesitate to put his finger on it.

“There is too little supervision, the prisons are not humane enough and there is hardly any preparation for probation".
In Haren, this should change. "The inmates stay in different buildings and living units. Like a village, so to speak," Van Quickenborne explains. "An assisted living unit houses about 30 detainees who are similar in profile. They can move around relatively freely and are encouraged to work together, to further develop their talents and skills. There is also the importance of an individual detention plan. To this end, a new position has been developed: in addition to the classic security assistant, there will be a detention supervisor who will guide detainees like a coach."

With this new approach, in a 21st-century prison building, the mission to bring down recidivism is "fulfilled with brio", says Van Quickenborne. "This new prison is a model of how meaningful and quality detention is possible."

The prison will accommodate 1,190 inmates. It is to replace the seriously outdated prisons of Saint-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael. The construction of the prison carries a price tag of 382 million euros.


© BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE - Illustration picture taken during a visit to the construction site of a new large 'prison village' in Haren, Brussels, Monday 04 October 2021. The Haren prison, with 1190 places, will replace the prisons of Saint-Gilles - Sint-Gillis, Forest - Vorst and Berkendael.


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels