9 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The criticism that two prison directors heaped on Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner is the only reason for their forced suspension from office, a confidential letter suggested on Monday.
A December 2003 letter from the Justice Ministry written on behalf of Minister Donner reads the riot act to the Noord-Holland-Noord prison director, J. van Huet. Addressing the critical remarks, Donner said in the letter: “I consider your attitude unacceptable”.
Evening newspaper NRC Handelsblad and public news service NOS have obtained copies of the letter and reported on its contents after Donner admitted on Monday that the two prison directors had recently clashed with him over government policy.
But the Christian Democrat CDA minister denied on Radio 1 Journal the criticism was the reason for their threatened transfer.
He said criticism is permissible, but once the discussion has ended, government policy must be carried out. Donner said this applied in particular to people in leadership and if someone could not comply, they would be better off finding another job.
The Justice Ministry revealed on Saturday that it was in talks with prison directors Van Huet and C. Boeij (Over-Amstel/Bijlmerbajes) about the continuation of their career. The men are chair and deputy chairperson respectively of the national jail directors association VDPI.
The prison directors have been suspended from their posts and will probably be forced to resign from their present positions, but Minister Donner said they will not be sacked. It is possible that they will be transferred within the judicial system.
To cut down on costs, Donner intends to abolish programmes to assist repeat offenders return to society, but the two directors oppose to the plan. Both say prisons should do more than simply detain criminals.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news