Rotterdam conference Supermax

Rotterdam conference 9 October 2014 : Supermax prisons in the Netherlands and abroad

Date: Thursday October 9, 2014
Time: 9 a.m – 5 p.m. with drinks afterwards
Intended audience: legal scholars, behavioral scientists, practitioners etc.
Costs: the conference is free
Organization: Erasmus School of Law, Departments of Criminal Law and Criminology, Research Program Monitoring Safety and Security
Location: M-building (Forumzaal M3-15), Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, campus Woudestein, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam (directions)

International conference

Public Security to the Max.
Supermax Prisons in the Netherlands and Abroad.

About the conference
On October 9, 2014 Erasmus School of Law organizes an international conference on supermax prisons. This conference is prompted by a recently published interdisciplinary evaluation study on the Dutch supermax prison. Contrary to most of the supermax prisons abroad, the Dutch supermax prison – the so-called EBI – is solely intended for detainees who are considered an extreme flight risk or whose escape would cause unacceptable social unrest. Ever since its inception in 1993, no detainee has been able to escape from the Dutch supermax prison, therewith validating the prison’s main objective.

The question is, however, at what price? On both a normative and empirical level this question has been explored in the evaluation study, considering the legal, psychological, and financial costs involved in supermax detainment. In this respect, one of the research findings is that the term security appears to be rather unilaterally defined as external security. In the supermax prison many strict security regulations are applied in order to secure the public safety by preventing the detainees from escaping. Contrary to this maximum external security, there seems to be less attention for the internal security of the detainees. Not only does this cause high psychological costs for the detainees, in addition to the psychological costs deriving from the complete lack of privacy, it can also be questioned to what extent it relates to the human rights’ perspective….




Prison activist and editor. Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014), " De grote stap achterwaarts, teksten over straf en gevangenis" (Antidote & PTTL, 2016). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011).

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