Does reintegration need REHAB? Early release procedures for prisoners without a legal permit of residence in Belgium.

    by:
  • Steven De Ridder (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Criminology, Research Group Crime & Society (CRiS))
  • Kristel Beyens (Criminology Department, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, Kristel.Beyens@vub.ac.be)
  • Sonja Snacken (Professor, Department of Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Contact: Sonja.Snacken@vub.ac.be)

Since the eighties, Belgium faces an increasing number of foreign prisoners. Accordingly, the number of foreign prisoners without a legal permit of residence, who are incarcerated in Belgian prisons due to (suspicion of) violation of the Belgian Criminal lawis also rising. With regard to early release, all prisoners fall under the Belgian penitentiary Acts of 2005 and 2006 in which„reintegration‟ is an important leading principle. However, a considerable part of the foreign prisoners without a legal permit of residence is exposed to expulsion under the Belgian Act of 1980 on the entry, stay, settlement and expulsion of foreigners after their (early) release. Theuse of different legal frameworks with conflicting rationales with regard to release from prison has consequences forthe possibilities to prepare the reintegration of foreign prisoners without residence permit. The aim of this article is to analyse the meaning, use and importance of the reintegration principlewith regard to the early release from prison of foreign prisoners without a legal permit of residence. The consequences of the interaction of requirements from immigration and penitentiary laws with regard totheir release in society will be discussed. Also some statistical data on the presence of foreign prisoners without a legal permit of residence in the Belgian prisons are presented and commented from a methodological point of view.

Keywords: Early Release, Irregular migrants, Foreign prisoners, Reintegration, Rehabilitation

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