MPs accused of fear-mongering about escapees
8 August 2005
AMSTERDAM — Angry words continued to fly on Monday following news that another convicted killer has escaped from a psychiatric clinic in the Netherlands.
The search continues for 34-year-old Marciano Ernst who escaped from a treatment centre in the Dutch town of Halsteren at the weekend.
Newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ reported Ernst received a two-year jail term and a compulsory psychiatric treatment order, or TBS, in 1997 for stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s new partner to death. Ernest had failed to take the medication that helped him counter delusions he suffered.
In June, Wilhelm Schippers, 40, allegedly killed a man in Amsterdam after escaping from a TBS clinic.
News of the latest escape caused MPs to react with shock. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has already ordered a tightening of security following the escape by Schippers in June. An investigation into the TBS system will begin next month.
In response top the concerns expressed by MPs, Jos Poelmann, director of the TBS clinic in Pompekliniek in Nijmegen, warned of the danger of over-reacting.
The police announced Ernst had had escaped within 48 hours of his disappearing — a time limit Donner had agreed with parliament after the Schippers case.
“There are 90 cases of escapes by TBS patients annually. By agreement, this information was made public. But if MPs react like this every time and call on the minister to face up to his responsibilities, we will no longer be able to do our work,” Poelmann said.
Poelmann pointed out that while the TBS system was not watertight the recidivist level had dropped in recent years from 23 to percent. There are 1,600 TBS patients in the Netherlands.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news