Prison officers’ union says that Turnout prison break could have been avoided

Dirk Vansprengel of the Socialist Prison Officers’ Union has told VRT News that the Prison Authority has known for some time that the CCTV system at Turnout Prison in Antwerp Province isn’t up to scratch. Dirk Vansprengel. Mr Versprengel worked for 11 years at the prison. 

The Prison’s Authority is currently investigating how five prisoners were able to escape from the Turnhout Prison on Thursday evening. The prisoners climbed over a fence and a metres-high wall while making their escape. The Director-General of the Prisons Authority Rudy Van de Voorde told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’ that they had problem gone to a blind spot that was out of range of the prison’s CCTV cameras.

“We have been raising this issue for years” the Socialist Trade Union’s Dirk Vansprengel told VRT News. "The cameras were not installed where they should have been. Staff are not able to see the image they should be able to see on the screen. There is a blind spot”.

Mr Vansprengel that this is not the only issue. "The lighting is so bad at the back of the prison that you can’t even see where you are walking let alone that you could see if someone is running away in the dark”.

His conclusion is clear “This escape could have been avoided. The Prisons’ Authority is going to investigate what happened, but yet again nothing will be done. We have been raising this issue for years, but nothing has been done. Apparently someone needs to escape before any action is taken."

The Prisons’ Authority refuses to comment on Mr Versprengel’s claims until its own internal enquiry has been completed.