Minister restricts TBS probationary release
2 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has imposed restrictions on the probationary release system afforded to inmates in the Dutch TBS psychiatric detention centres. The minister acted in response to a kidnapping committed by an escapee detainee in May.
2 July 2004
AMSTERDAM − Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has imposed restrictions on the probationary release system afforded to inmates in the Dutch TBS psychiatric detention centres. The minister acted in response to a kidnapping committed by an escapee detainee in May.
Donner told MPs on Thursday that the number of forms of probationary release will be reduced to three and detainees must in future obtain authorisation for every period of release.
For a prisoner to be granted release, the risks will have to be assessed before approval is given. In special cases, a full assessment will have to be carried out before an offender is allowed to leave a secure psychiatric hospital.
The minister has also announced plans to expand the number of places for long-term detainees, news agency ANP reported.
For serious violent and sex crime offenders sentenced to TBS detention and who are in need of long-term therapy, a place in a long-term detention centre only becomes available after six years in detention.
The Netherlands has 60 long-term places and that is insufficient. Donner will thus investigate how many long-term TBS patients will in future come into consideration for a place in such an institute.
Moreover, regular TBS institutes also face capacity problems and the shortage of places is expected to increase to about 300 in 2008. Existing expansion works will provide a further 86 places.
All TBS institutes have been ordered by the minister to reconsider the probationary release system.
MPs raised concern after a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped in May in the eastern Dutch town of Rekken by a 37-year-old man previously convicted of sex crimes. He had failed to return from probationary leave to his Utrecht TBS institute earlier that month.
The girl, from Eibergen, was later released in the German town Munster on 25 May after a stand-off with German and Dutch police. The girl had been sexually abused.
Opposition Labour PvdA and populist LPF MPs withdrew their confidence in Minister Donner in response to the incident. But PvdA MP Aleid Wolfsen said Donner's measures on Thursday were a step in the right direction.
LPF MP Joost Eerdmans said the minister's promises were inadequate and is demanding an end to unsupervised probationary release. The LPF said it will continue to condemn Donner's policy until he ends unsupervised releases.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news