By organizing participatory art exhibitions inside and outside penitentiary centers, Art Without Bars offers the possibility to experience a learning process that makes the chances of inclusion after release real.


First because of the associations art offers that generate artistic expressions that appeal to the critical and creative spirit of inmates and for citizens with a juridical past. Secondly because during presentations for the public, Art Without Bars gives the government and the wider community an insight into how art perception as a high-quality instrument promotes the rehabilitation of inmates and former inmates.


Questions and requirements of inmates like in this example, which we found at the back of a drawing (2007), the recent basic law in the future will approach.

The Basic Law has been tightened in 2013. While we hope for a more humane treatment, it seems that the size of the new prisons give a different signal.

What is the basic law?

The basic law “prison service and legal position of inmates” voted on 12 January 2005 is a breakthrough step in our penitentiary history. Till then there was a lack in the law for the rights and duties of inmates. The law also stipulates the basis principles of detention and the exact organization of the prison service.

Some basis principles:

  • The inmate is a citizen: the inmate loses only their freedom to come and go. Unless their restrictions follow from the condemnation, the detention or the law, the inmate does not lose their political, civil, social, economic or cultural rights.
  • Restriction of detention damage: the detention happens only with respect for human dignity. To the individual and social responsibility of detained it is appealed.
  • Order and security: the inmate them self in surroundings where order and security are insured, both internal and external.
  • Creation of a consultation organ: inmates can consult this organ to present themselves concerning questions of common interest. They can also take part in consultation about this.
  • Convalescence of damage, rehabilitation and reintegration in the society: the inmate must be given the chance to provide a contribution to the development of an individual detention plan. This plan has been aimed at sentence implementation, convalescence, rehabilitation and reintegration.
  • Motivation duty of the administrative operations: the decisions which are taken within the framework of the law, must be motivated.
  • To bring the coming into force in the future a good preparation in several areas has been required, such as order and security, drawing up of domestic regulations, preparation of the establishment of consultation agencies and the detention plan.

You can find the complete version of the basic law on: http://www.just.fgov.be/en_htm/informatie/htm_justitie_atotz/ldp-bw.pdf

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