Dutch MPs vote to raise maximum jail terms

2nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − Dutch MPs backed a legislative proposal on Thursday increasing the maximum length of jail terms judges can impose on people convicted of serious crimes such as murder or manslaughter to 30 years.

2 July 2004

AMSTERDAM − Dutch MPs backed a legislative proposal on Thursday  increasing the maximum length of jail terms judges can impose on people convicted of serious crimes such as murder or manslaughter to 30 years.

The legislation is designed to close the gap between crimes that presently carry a 20 year maximum jail term and the life sentences that Dutch courts can impose, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

The legislative proposal was lodged by the Christian Democrat CDA MP, Sybrand van Haersma Buma, against the wishes of party colleague, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner.

Minister Donner had instead wanted to close the gap by abolishing the early release scheme in certain cases that allows convicted criminals to be paroled after serving two thirds of their sentences.

Crimes that carry a 20-year maximum jail term presently allow criminals to be released after serving 13 years in prison. But the new law means that for 30-year terms, serious offenders will only be eligible for release after 20 years.

Criminals who are sentenced to life in jail, are sentenced for life and are generally never released. Various criminal law experts have in the past claimed that the Netherlands has one of the strongest life sentencing regulations in the world.

Meanwhile, the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, also backed a legislative proposal lodged by populist LPF MP Joost Eerdmans to increase the maximum jail term for illegal weapon possession.

Anyone found in possession of switchblades, ninja stars, brass knuckles or butterfly knives can be sentenced to a nine-month jail term in future, in place of the present three.

On request from the LPF, the maximum jail term for animal cruelty crimes will also be raised from two years to four years.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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