: Een empirisch vergelijkend onderzoek tussen veroordeelden en beklaagden

Translated title of the thesis: Experiencing life in custody in Flemish prisons : An empirical comparative study between convicted and on remand prisoners

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Large-scale survey research among prisoners is almost non-existent in Belgium. Collaborative research between the National Institute of Criminalistics and Criminology and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on digitalization in prison and prison climate has changed this. This thesis uses the collected data from that collaborative research. The aim of this thesis is to map prison climate in Flemish prisons, with specific attention to the question whether there is a difference in experiences with living conditions between defendants and convicts.

A version of the Prison Climate Questionnaire adapted to the Flemish context was used to ask prisoners' opinions about the different domains of prison climate: autonomy, safety, contacts in prison, contacts with the outside world, facilities and meaningful activities. A total of 3,014 prisoners were approached, of whom 1,030 returned a completed questionnaire. This represents a response rate of 34.2%.

The analyses of the collected data show that both convicted and on remand prisoners report rather negative experiences for the different domains of prison climate. In addition, differences between the two groups were found on a global level. When the prisons were then looked at individually, it was found that some reported a difference while others did not for a certain domain. Differences among on remand prisoners and among convicted prisoners were also found.

The specific uncertainties faced by on remand and convicted prisoners, the difference in length of detention, the overcrowding and the initial shock of the transition from freedom to detention were seen as factors that could explain the differences in experiences. Additional qualitative research in the form of interviews, focus groups and observations are needed to explain these differences within and between prisons.
Date of Award2021
Original languageDutch
SupervisorKristel Beyens (Promotor)

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