The Belgian federal government is worried that short prison sentences could actually encourage small-time criminals to break the law again and argues that such punishments are ineffective and expensive.
The country’s justice minister Koen Geens, an MP for the centre-right Christian Democratic and Flemish party, said short prison sentences were not helpful.
“A short prison sentence, a try-out in jail, rarely leads to good results. It does not contribute to re-integration, but helps inmates to learn bad habits,” Mr Geens told MPs on the announcement of the measures.
“Usually we take bad habits when we are so shortly in prison, there is little human improvement,” he added.