“St-Gilles Prison Suicides Highlight Urgent Need for Prison Reform”

2023-05-27 16:58:15

The inmate who violently assaulted a guard at Namur prison in mid-April killed himself this weekend at St-Gilles prison. He hanged himself in the psychiatric annex of the Brussels prison where he had been staying since his transfer after the attack.

About ten days earlier, another prisoner from St Gilles also committed suicide. A 24-year-old young man who had the status of “internee”, but who resided in the ordinary regime.

Wave of suicides

Since September 2022, suicides have multiplied at St-Gilles prison. There were at least 5 of them in a context that was, to say the least, unusual, since the detainees were awaiting a move to the new Haren prison.

Until recently, the dilapidated Saint-Gilles prison suffered from severe prison overcrowding and understaffed staff. Today, the prison is beginning to empty since since May 1, there are no longer any prisoners. But the establishment still has more than 700 inmates. Voices are raised to denounce this “problematic in-between“.

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