In a report published today the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) focused on the Belgian authorities' efforts to improve the treatment and detention conditions of prisoners, ensure better care for psychiatric patients subject to an internment measure and combat police brutality. The CPT's findings are unequivocal: there is still much to be done.
In its report, the Committee referred to the public statement it had felt obliged to make in July 2017, calling on the authorities and all stakeholders to face up to their responsibilities and quickly find a solution for introducing a minimum service in prison establishments guaranteeing prisoners' basic rights, particularly during industrial action by prison staff. The CPT now requested that the Belgian authorities keep it regularly informed of progress in this area.
The report notes that, while prison staff generally seemed to set store by maintaining good relations with prisoners and being able to rapidly defuse any risk situations, there were credible allegations of recent physical ill-treatment of male prisoners by certain prison staff, including team leaders.