Archives - Program 2020


Profits over rights: the privatization of prisons

All over the world, sovereign actions such as detention are gradually being outsourced to private companies. What is left of detainees’ rights when a prison becomes an object of profit?

Discussion to follow in livestream on
2001 marked the opening of Mangaung Prison, South Africa’s first private facility. Its operators, the multi-billion-dollar British security company G4S, promised excellent infrastructure and humane treatment for the nearly 3,000 inmates. However, this promising undertaking was soon called into question. Underpaid guards, excessive violence, abuse, torture and ultimately neglect proved to be omnipresent in the daily life of the inmate. They had become a source of income managed by this company. What does the commodification and privatization of certain State-owned domains mean for society as a whole? And how can G4S, the world’s third largest private employer, be held accountable?
Based on the testimony of Mangaung inmates and guards, Prison for Profit follows the work of investigative journalist Ruth Hopkins on G4S in South Africa and around the world.


Saturday 7 March


Espace Pitoëff - Grande salle

Co-presented with World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)


Ruth Hopkins Investigative journalist

Agnes Callamard UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Director of "Freedom of Expression", Columbia University

Femke Van Velzen Co-filmmaker of Prison For Profit

Abdul Aziz Muhamat Refugees advocate and 2019 Martin Ennals Prize winner.

Moderated by

Luc Hermann Journalist and producer

This debat is preceded by the movie:

Competition - Grand reportage

Prison for Profit

By Ilse Van Velzen & Femke Van Velzen

The South African private prison of Mangaung opened its doors in 2001. Its operator, the security company G4S, promises state-of-the-art treatment for the 3,000 prisoners - naturally, at the lowest cost. But once the G4S shareholder logic takes hold, with its expectation of a return on investment, the reality is quite different: the prison is gradually deteriorating and becoming much more expensive than when it was State-run. G4S, which operates in 90 countries, is the world's third largest private employer and this compelling documentary reveals the secrets of a sick global economy.

  • Section Competition - Grand reportage


Ilse Van Velzen & Femke Van Velzen


  • Ilse & Femke Van Velzen

World sales

  • Java Films