Veerle Scheirs - Visitor

A decade ago, the Belgian early release system underwent fundamental changes. Important innovations were the transfer of decisionmaking authority to release ‘long-term’ prisoners before the end of their sentences from the executive to the judiciary and a strong focus on offenders’ procedural and substantive statutory rights (e.g. due process, fairness, legitimacy). As a result, since 1 February 2007, multidisciplinary sentence implementation courts have decided the detention trajectory of offenders sentenced to three years’ imprisonment or more (e.g. semi-detention, electronic monitoring, conditional release) after an adversarial and inquisitorial procedure in which important procedural and substantive statutory rights of the offender are guaranteed. In this context, social reintegration is highlighted as an official aim and key concept of sentence implementation. This lecture addresses the following themes: (a) Belgian sentence implementation as a bifurcated practice; (b) whether Belgian sentence implementation courts ‘are doing reintegration’, drawing on the results of a four-year ethnographic study examining the decision-making processes and practices of these tribunals; (c) how recall decisions are made in Belgium. The nature of the decision-making process will be related to the particular reintegration-oriented penal culture in which the decisions are made.
25 May 2016

External organisation (Academic)

NameUniversity of Cambridge
CountryUnited Kingdom


ID: 24812476