Thirty-something with a drug past: escaped prisoner from Kortrijk detention house not caught

    The thirty-year-old was serving a sentence for drug offenses and was preparing for his life after prison in the detention house. The neighborhood, which has always been against the detention house, is not surprised. They are dissatisfied that justice has not communicated about the escape. That only creates even more distrust and a greater sense of insecurity, they say.

    “Allowed to leave prison earlier”

    “It concerns a 33-year-old man from West Flanders, who has a conviction between two and three years for drug offenses. He was imprisoned at the beginning of this year in Bruges prison, where he was actually already working on his addiction. He was always allowed to leave prison for that, and that always went without problems,” says Kathleen Van De Vijver, spokeswoman for the Federal Public Service Justice.

    Detention house just opened

    The detention house was only opened a few months ago in a former residential care center in the Etienne Sabbelaan in Kortrijk. It is the first in the country. The detention house is a small-scale, closed institution for detainees with a short sentence: up to 3 years in prison.

    In Kortrijk there is room for about 50 detainees, now there are 7. Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne from Kortrijk introduced the detention houses because he wants to carry out all sentences.

    “Not in Kortrijk but in home environment”

    Mayor Ruth Vandenberghe can confirm that the VLAS police zone was informed by the detention house that evening.

    “Police zone VLAS has been on site for an initial investigation and for drawing up an official report. Based on the investigation elements, it was clear that the man should not be sought in Kortrijk, but in his home environment. The police have the public prosecutor’s office and the concerned police zone.

    Short sentences with a low security risk who are working on a reintegration process are staying in the detention house, so it is surprising that the man is now getting into trouble by not adhering to the rules of the detention house.”

    “This was to be expected” (Neighborhood Committee)

    The neighborhood committee that opposes the detention house says this escape was to be expected. The neighborhood committee collected 800 signatures against the detention house.

    “There is no panic or great fear now,” says the spokesperson. “But those detainees are not light boys either. For example, there is less walking in the nature reserve nearby.”