HISTORY

BECOMING A MOVEMENT

FROM IDEA...

The ideas underpinning the RESCALED movement were developed in Belgium against the backdrop of a prison system in crisis. Ever since the 1990s, Belgian prisons have been repeatedly criticized by the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). In such conditions, it is hard to ensure prisoners’ rights, implement meaningful activities and reintegration trajectories, and provide staff with decent working conditions. Hans Claus had been critical of the system since the beginning of his career as prison governor in the late 1980s. In 2008, broad ideas became more concrete. When the Belgian government announced plans to build a new prison with a capacity of 1000 places, it occurred to Hans that it might actually work better to build 100 prisons for 10 people instead. No large prison institutions but detention houses, based on three principles: small scale, differentiation and community-integration.

FROM IDEA...

The ideas underpinning the RESCALED movement were developed in Belgium against the backdrop of a prison system in crisis. Ever since the 1990s, Belgian prisons have been repeatedly criticized by the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). In such conditions, it is hard to ensure prisoners’ rights, implement meaningful activities and reintegration trajectories, and provide staff with decent working conditions. Hans Claus had been critical of the system since the beginning of his career as prison governor in the late 1980s. In 2008, broad ideas became more concrete. When the Belgian government announced plans to build a new prison with a capacity of 1000 places, it occurred to Hans that it might actually work better to build 100 prisons for 10 people instead. No large prison institutions but detention houses, based on three principles: small scale, differentiation and community-integration.

...TO MOVEMENT

This idea of detention houses is not bound to one national context. In fact, many European countries already have some examples of detention houses. The desire for a systemic change also transcends national borders. Indeed, most European countries are being criticized or convicted for their prison systems. The positive results of the existing examples have fueled this shared desire for change. This became clear through the relationships established between partners from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal: De Huizen (BE), the Free University of Brussels (BE), Farapej (FR), Restorative Justice Nederland (NL), Chains (NL), Bonjo (NL), Avans Hogeschool (NL), Stichting terugkeer en herstel (NL), Dat is Helder (NL), Wayback (NO) and APAC Portugal (PT). The relationships between these partners and their shared mission to support the use of detention houses instead of large prison institutions became the foundation for RESCALED – the European Movement for Detention Houses. Within a decade, an idea has become a movement.

BECOMING A MOVEMENT

...TO MOVEMENT

This idea of detention houses is not bound to one national context. In fact, many European countries already have some examples of detention houses. The desire for a systemic change also transcends national borders. Indeed, most European countries are being criticized or convicted for their prison systems. The positive results of the existing examples have fueled this shared desire for change. This became clear through the relationships established between partners from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal: De Huizen (BE), the Free University of Brussels (BE), Farapej (FR), Restorative Justice Nederland (NL), Chains (NL), Bonjo (NL), Avans Hogeschool (NL), Stichting terugkeer en herstel (NL), Dat is Helder (NL), Wayback (NO) and APAC Portugal (PT). The relationships between these partners and their shared mission to support the use of detention houses instead of large prison institutions became the foundation for RESCALED – the European Movement for Detention Houses. Within a decade, an idea has become a movement.