More than 1600 convicts roam free

Some 1680 convicts have been allowed out of jail without an electronic anklet. According to the authorities the prisons are full and there are not enough anklets to keep the convicts in question under electronic surveillance.

The convicts who have been allowed out of jail without an electronic anklet are serving sentences of less than three years. There are no sexual delinquents or illegal immigrants amongst them. They have been put on a waiting list for anklets to be under electronic surveillance.

Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck (Flemish Christian democrat) is urgently seeking a supplier of high-quality electronic surveillance anklets. To alleviate the overcrowding in the prisons, Mr De Clerck wants to increase the number of convicts who are able to stay at home from some 1100 to about 2000.

Last week, the news was released that Belgium would rent a prison in the Netherlands (Tilburg). The measure was approved by the government of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy.