Parole was introduced in Belgium in 1888 and has been transformed profoundly by the end of 20th century. Due to a bifurcation policy and practice, today release procedures for those with a prison sentence of up to three years and more than three years differ profoundly in Belgium. The majority of the prisoners with a prison sentence of up to three years are quasi-automatically released through an administrative decision, after having served one third of the prison sentence or less, without any supervisory conditions and thus follow up in the community. Prisoners serving a sentence of more than three years are subjected to a long and thorough decision-making process, where the decision of release is taken by multidisciplinary sentence implementation courts. As reintegration is an official aim of sentence implementation, supervisory conditions are always applied and the released person is followed up by justice assistants, who regularly report to the sentence implementation courts about the progress and the (non-)compliance. Prisoners have to present a reintegration plan, and different actors are involved in the preparation. However, differences between prisons exist in the level of support in the preparation of the release and in general there is shortage of services in the community where ex-prisoners can be received for treatment. Despite policy initiatives, cooperation between prisons and services in the community are still difficult, which hampers the preparation of release and the smooth transition of prisoners into society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrisoner Resettlement in Europe
EditorsFrieder Dünkel, Ineke Pruin, Anette Storgaard, Jonas Weber
Place of PublicationOxon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter2.2.
Pages37- 50
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-19459-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-72123-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • parole, Resettlement, Belgium and the Netherlands

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