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Building work to start on Brussels 'mega-prison'

22:26 18/07/2018

The first phase of building work on a "mega-prison" on the outskirts of Brussels - the largest in the country - will begin at the end of this summer, with a planned completion date of 2022.

The 15-hectare facility, with room for 1,190 inmates, is being built in Haren, near the new Nato headquarters and close to Brussels Airport.

Described as a "prison village", it will include three men's prisons, two for women, a youth detention wing and a section for those under psychiatric internment.

The complex will replace outdated and overcrowded prisons in Saint-Gilles, Forest and Berkendael.

Belgium's federal buildings agency, which is overseeing the project, said in a statement: "Finding land in Brussels for the establishment of a prison complex with a capacity of 1,190 was not easy. The choice for Haren was to build a prison village made up of smaller buildings. This arrangement will improve the quality of life for both inmates and prison staff.

"The site had long become a dumping ground: 466 tonnes of illegal waste, including asbestos, was discovered. The site had to be cleared up by a specialist company in order to proceed with the demolition of the buildings."

Written by The Bulletin