ECHR Article 14: The Structure of Discrimination in European Justice
Promotor(s) : Artige, Lionel
Date of defense : 5-Oct-2022 • Permalink :
|ECHR Article 14: The Structure of Discrimination in European Justice
|Date of defense :
|Committee's member(s) :
|Business & economic sciences > Economic systems & public economics
|Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
|Master en sciences économiques, orientation générale, à finalité spécialisée en economic, analysis and policy
|Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
[en] In Belgium, the rate of imprisonment has been growing over the last decades. Criminal justice policies push for longer time behind bars and the federal government has planned to build 5 new prisons with a total capacity of 2,500 inmates. With a budget over e560 millions, (wolving up 28.3% of SPF Justice’s allowance) the correctional sphere is becoming a major public issue.
Public issues require proper economic analysis in order to give relevant advice to politicians and thus enable them to make efficient decisions. In his article, "The Thirteenth Amendment, Prison Labor Wages, and Interrupting the Intergenerational Cycle of Subjugation" (2019), Josh Halladay performs such an analysis. He assesses the imprisonment from 3 angles: race and bias, inmate compensation and families support, fair wage and education-purpose savings.
This master’s thesis will lead a similar study, all the while pointing out the distinct cultural background of racism in Europe. Since the Belgian Correctional System is very different from the American one, several laws will be reviewed to adapt the initial analysis. As DG EPi does not disclose, or even collect, a substantial amount of information about day-to-day functioning, methodologies from other European studies will be used to offset this lack of data.
The analysis produced notable results. Non-Old Europe people are 4 times more present inside than outside. Poor people with low standards of education are also over-represented. A mere 40% of inmates are working. Families send the inmates money and prisons tax the money paid by relatives and prisoners to finance internal benefits. Cost-effective alternatives to prison could fund not only higher prison wages, but also remember the first tenet in law: any prison inmate can be your neighbour in the near future.
Several main conclusions have been drawn from the analysis. Regarding imprisonment factors, lack of minimum wealth, education and ethnicity have a significant impact. As to the necessity of a higher wage, better distribution of prison labour earnings over inmates seems to be more relevant. Nonetheless, a higher wage would allow inmates to support their families.
The main recommendations to the policy makers are to address the poverty factor and fund such policies via the decrease of unnecessary pre-trial detention and provide cost-effective alternatives, increasing both prison wages as well as the internal employment rate, and as such instant remedy to the prolongation of illiteracy and poor education for inmates’ children.
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