Wednesday 30 November 2022 marked the inauguration of the new prison in Uerschterhaff (Sanem), in the presence of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, the Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, the mayor of the municipality of Sanem, Simone Asselborn-Bintz, and the director of the Prison Administration, Serge Legil.
According to the authorities, the opening of this new prison fits within the context of a modernisation of the penitentiary system and aims to contribute to the improvement of detention conditions. Located within the municipality of Sanem, the new prison has a capacity of 400 beds and will accommodate male defendants. Responding to the requirements of modern detention, the new prison is characterised by smaller living units within which more freedom of movement is guaranteed.
In his speech, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, recalled the particular challenge of building a prison which requires an effective security concept while allowing efficient and appropriate circulation inside the buildings as well as accommodation for inmates in self-contained units. Characterised by its overall hexagonal shape, the prison responds as closely as possible to the organisational and security requirements of the prison service. In addition, the buildings are equipped with thermal solar collectors and photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs to guarantee reduced energy consumption.
Luxembourg's Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, stressed that the opening of the prison in Uerschterhaff forms part of the prison reform initiated in 2018, emphasising the prisoner and his/her social reintegration. From now on, defendants in pre-trial detention will be separated from convicted prisoners, allowing care adapted to the needs of pre-trial and sentenced prisoners. One of the priorities in the context of the care of detainees consists in maintaining family ties. As such, the new prison has one large visiting room, separate visiting rooms and rooms for family visits.
Following the speeches, the inaugural act took place at the registry service which welcomes the person imprisoned on his arrival at the Uerschterhaff prison. After the ceremonial ribbon was cut, Jeff Schmit, the new prison's director, led a group of guests through the new correctional facility. This allowed visitors to discover the interior of the new prison and to have an overview of a detention block, a living unit with single and double cells, the promenade courtyard on the roof as well as the common visiting room and individual visiting rooms.
Five years after the start of works, the Uerschterhaff prison will become operational from 5 December 2022. The commissioning will take place gradually with the transfer of around 250 defendants currently housed in Schrassig Prison to the prison in Sanem. As of 29 November 2022, Schrassig Prison accommodated 635 detainees, including 322 men in preventive detention.
The overall cost of the construction project for the Uerschterhaff prison amounts to €171,000,000 including tax.