Monday, April 28, 2008

Young Belgian Criminals Freed Because Prisons Are Full

Belgian juvenile detention centers are so full the police are being forced to regularly release teenage criminals soon after they are arrested, the Belgian papers report today, after 15 young thugs were released over the weekend, no matter the severity of their crimes.

My partial translation of the account carried by the major French Belgian paper Le Soir:

The public prosecutor of Brussels had to release no less than 15 minors (9 Saturday and 6 on Sunday), over the weekend, due to lack of space in detention centers. It is a "dramatic" situation, according to Brussels' francophone magistrate.

"Some cases are sufficiently serious that they require a place in detention centers", the prosecutor's spokesperson said. "But if we cannot find a solution to the placement within 24 hours, we are obligated to let them go. It's a recurring problem, but it is once again painfully illustrated this weekend.
There is no room anywhere: not at Everberg, nor at Fraipont, nor at Braine-le-Château. It's really dramatic and it's a serious problem that the French community needs to address urgently.
The latest serious act was committed Saturday night. A 16-year old youth grabbed a 79-year old's purse in Rhode-Saint-Genèse. In falling, she fractured her writst, her shoulder and her hip. The pursesnatcher, well known to police, was arrested and put in custody.

After his preliminary hearing by the judge, he was seemingly freed.
Two other juvenile delinquents were released last week, shortly after being arrested for having dropped a block of concrete from an overpass, onto the driver's compartment of a passing truck. Translated from the Belgian media source 7Sur7:

The two 14-year old adolescents who had thrown a concrete block weighing 30 kg [approx 60 pounds] from the top of the E411 bridge at Vedrin (in Namur), onto the windshield of a truck that was driving along the autoroute, were freed Thursday due to lack of space in detention centers.
By a miracle, the driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured.

No comments: