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Education in Brussels’ prisons EPEA Malta conference Contribution Wim Ipers.

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1 Education in Brussels’ prisons EPEA Malta conference Contribution Wim Ipers

2 She says: ‘by the tone of your last letter, you should get out more

3 Sint-Gillis


5 Vorst

6 Berckendael

7 Sint-Gillis/Vorst/Berckendael

8 in a nutshell 1 of 29 Belgian centres for ‘basic’ education, state- funded Target group: adults with limited formal education Different modular and certified courses: Dutch for foreigners (NT2)/Literacy and numeracy in Dutch (NT1)/Basic maths/ICT/basic English and French/social topics Created in 1988, over 2000 students in 2011 Very extensive network

9 in prisons in a nutshell In Sint-Gillis since 1997, in Vorst since 1999, in Berckendael since 2012 Till 2004 only literacy courses Long strikes paralyzed work in Sint-Gillis from 2004 to 2007, Vorst courses continued Since 2009 prison education coordinator: enormous progress in number and scope of courses Other schools now present, Brusselleer still pioneer

10 Some figures Statistieken pdf-file bureaublad 1997-2004 19982000200220042006200820102012 Prison capacity 7.3337.4627.4368.0928.3118.2268.8298.930 Number of prisoners 8.1768.6888.6059.2499.5739.80410.50111.107 men7.8618.3308.2488.8619.1709.35310.08210.664 women315358357388403451419443 Electronic surveillance 214271279326557928987

11 Some more figures Sint-Gillis prisondemandsnumber start screening number after screening startEnd (certificate) NT1(Literacy)39 302416 NT2 (Dutch for foreigners) 14 12 Cookery54481410/89/7 Communication3430987 ICT665915117


13 what I did and do since 1998: literacy in Sint-Gillis, since 2001 also in Vorst From 2004-2007: literacy only in Vorst since 2009: literacy and communication in Sint-Gillis (In 2006 and 2008: theatre in Vorst)

14 Brusselleers‘ focus Each and every individual: tailor-made courses Small is beautiful We are not people behind bars you are in, but will one day be out again

15 basic approach inmates encourage, encourage, encourage make hidden wants and needs surface, turn negative choice into positive make participate and experience, not absorb passively make education inside resemble education outside, normalisation awaken positive potential

16 basic approach prison officers some education every day keeps the prison/punishment away education = work: equal pay prisoners/prison officers: and/and, not or/or (well-trained prison officers ease release)

17 Respect (from re-spicere: to thoroughly look, to look again)



20 main obstacles inmates don’t vote intricate decision-making process immobilizes disciplinary measures, imprisoned in prison high turnover: short, shorter, too short (= detention prison, not prison for convicts) Understaffing/underpayment=undermotivation =resentment

21 main challenges better liaise with post-release education improve relation to employment market (Actiris’ vocational training) attune to individual needs, curricula as tailor- made as possible actively promote 'inreach’ (families+community) broaden horizon, improve skills teachers



24 Brussels’ future prison



27 Thank you very much! Grazzi!

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