[<< wikinews] Project brings dialogue between society and prisoners
Friday, March 23, 2007 

A project aimed at feelings of insecurity in society took place over the last month in Belgium. Reintegration consultants Frank Geets and Geert Van Aerschot from the Central and Auxiliary Prison in Leuven came up with the idea to allow a group of citizens to experience the life of prisoners in a more realistic fashion.
Together with criminology Prof. Johan Deklerck from the Catholic University of Leuven, the city's civil servant for crime prevention and two local socio-cultural training centres, and with the support of the King Boudewijn Foundation and the Justice Department, they started the project under the header "KAFFEE DETINEE" (Eng. Detention Café), to stress the informal manner in which they wanted to bring together detainees and civilians.
To introduce the group of 30 civilians to the world of prisons, they first went to the oldest prison of Belgium in Tongeren, which has been transformed into a museum since 2005. Later the participants got the chance to visit both prisons in Leuven. They got to know the infrastructure, the prison regime, and they got to meet the gaolers and the prisoners.
With this exchange between the world inside and outside prisons, the participants and organisation think that at least some myths people have from movies and television were adjusted. According to Prof. Deklerck, the project is unique in Europe.

== Interview with Prof. Deklerck and a participant ==
Wikinews interviewed Prof. Johan Deklerck, and one of the civilians who participated in the project, Katrien Vanwildemeersch.
Prof. Johan Deklerck: 

Katrien Vanwildemeersch:

Prof. Johan Deklerck:

Wikinews: Maybe what strengthens the feelings of insecurity in society, is the law Lejeune, which allows a prisoner to be released after he has served only a third of his sentence. Would it not be better to say: 'We sentence you for 7 years, but if you misbehave after that, you will automatically get 14 years more'?
Prof. Johan Deklerck:

== Interview with an inmate ==

Frederik (fictional name):