Widespread support for stricter sentences

31st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

In a letter to parliament, Deputy Justice Minister writes that a majority of Dutch citizens support cabinet plans to introduce minimum sentencing and stricter sentences in cases of violence against paramedics, firemen and police officers.

His conclusions are based on research by the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement and the Radboud University Nijmegen. The two institutes conducted a survey among more than 1,000 Dutch citizens.

The researchers asked those interviewed what sentences they would impose if they were judge. There was a wide variety of opinions on how severe criminals should be punished. Clearly not everybody endorses the often heard complaint that most judges are too lenient.

However, the notion that recidivists should be punished more severely was endorsed by nearly all respondents. In his letter, Minister Teeven concludes that the outcome of the survey dovetails with a bill which would see at least half the maximum sentence imposed on recidivists.

Most of those interviewed supported stricter sentences for people who commit violence against paramedics, firemen or police officers. Mr Teeven says there clearly is widespread support for introducing a policy of seeking double the usual sentence against people found guilty of violence against emergency services personnel.

The survey reportedly showed a lack of support for imposing community service on suspects accused of serious violent crimes or sexual offences. Mr Teeven points to a government sponsored bill which in these cases would only allow community service in combination with a prison sentence.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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