Criminals 'pay others' to serve jail sentences

19th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 November 2004AMSTERDAM — Criminals in the Netherlands who are too busy to go to jail regularly pay accomplices to serve out their sentences for them, according to a new investigation.

19 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Criminals in the Netherlands who are too busy to go to jail regularly pay accomplices to serve out their sentences for them, according to a new investigation.

Current affairs television programme Nova said on Friday that criminals are getting away with using proxies because staff are lax about checking the identity of individuals who report to prison.

The problem is focused on half-open jails which deal with inmates serving sentences ranging from a few days to 18 months for fraud, drug dealing or lesser offences. After being convicted defendants are allowed to go home and are notified by post of the date they have to go to the prison.

Sometimes convicts reaching the end of a lengthy sentence are assigned to a half-open prison in anticipation of release.

Nova said it has uncovered numerous reports of the deception involving the use of false passports to allow substitutes — who are paid well for their time — to take the place of the intended convict.

People are fingerprinted when they report to a jail to begin a sentence but often, Nova claimed, the results are not compared to copies of the defendant's fingerprints held on file.

It is unclear just how widespread the problem is, but several lawyers and 10 sources within the justice department  confirmed it occurs regularly.

Defence lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers told Nova: "I have occasionally had the experience that a particular person will say to me that he didn't have the time to serve a sentence so he had asked a buddy to kindly fill in for him — and that's what happened."

Another lawyer, Gerard Hamer, agreed. "Years ago a client said to to me: I want to know the exact date on which I have to report to the prison so I can get one of my boys with a [false] passport to sit out the time for me." Hamer said he told the man to find another lawyer as he did not want to involve himself in the deception.

Several members of the Dutch Parliament has called on the the Justice Ministry to respond to the claims.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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