9999

Ellen Vermeulen

Camera Justitia

Poignant and topical documentary about the fallacious Belgian policy to detain criminals suffering from mental health problems in prison cells without providing for psychological assistance or care. The date of release mentioned on their files is 31/12/9999.

While Belgian law states that criminals suffering from mental conditions cannot be held responsible for their acts, they are locked up and isolated. The system does not provide for psychological aid, so the criminals spend their days in small cells, without care and with no prospect of change. For some, this means they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars, regardless of the nature of their offence, and to be continuously confronted with themselves, their acts and their disease. 

Poignant 9999 tells the story of Joris, Ludo, Wilfried, Steven and Salem, five men that spend their days in what one of them aptly calls ‘Belgium’s cesspool’. The Belgian government has on several occasions been sanctioned by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for ‘maltreating’ prisoners with psychiatric disorders.

Genomineerd voor de Camera Justitia competitie
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Credits

Subtitles
EN
Director
Ellen Vermeulen
Country
Belgium
Type
Documentary
Duration
70 minutes
Themes
courts & tribunals, transitional justice, health, illness, addiction, medical ethics, prison & detention
Year
2014