BRUGGE - In Europe, children sometimes end up in prison. Not because they have done something wrong, but because they are the (unborn) child of a convicted, accused or interned woman. Bruges prison even has a special ward where young children can live with their imprisoned mothers.
The place looks somewhat like a dilapidated nursery. The seven dwarfs are painted on the wall. There are paddling pools and nursing pads. You can hear the cries of babies and cooing toddlers echoing through the hallways. There is an inner courtyard with playground equipment and a bench to rest.
Both the mothers and the prison staff do their best to always put the best interests of the child first, being closely guided and advised by agencies such as the Center for Child and Family Support, the Judicial Welfare Office, Child & Family, ONE and the Agency on Growing Up. But you can't ignore the high fences, steel doors and windows with thick bars. The day children turn three, they have to leave the prison, even though some moms stay behind in the prison. And every day that that third birthday gets closer, is a day closer to saying goodbye to mother and child.
In the podcast series "Here Mommy Lives Now," Wederik De Backer and Katrin Lohmann take listeners behind the walls of the mother-child ward in Bruges prison, where incarcerated mothers mother.
An intimate documentary for De Standaard and DSAudio, with music by An Pierlé and Loesje Maieu, and editing and editing by Wederik De Backer, Katrin Lohmann and Katoo De Langhe.
Photographs by Alexander Meeus.
With support from Fonds Pascal Decroos, Sabam for Culture and Radio Begijnenstraat.
With thanks to the management of the women's department of the Bruges prison.
- Hier woont mama nu - Het is geen cel, het is een kamer (1/4), DS Podcast, 21/07/2023.
- Hier woont mama nu - Mama komt altijd terug (2/4), DS Podcast, 26/07/2023.
- Hier woont mama nu - Nu kan mijn leven als mama beginnen (3/4) DS Podcast, 27/07/2023.
- Hier woont mama nu - 'Ik ga de gevangenis ook een beetje missen' (4/4), 09/09/2023.
- Wat als je baby of peuter opgroeit in de gevangenis?, De Standaard, 24/07/2023.