Monday, 13 January 2014 - 13:39
Convicts will be billed for jailtime
Convicts will soon have to contribute in the cost of their investigations, prosecutions, sentencing and jailtime. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven have included this measure in new legislation that is obviously meant to encourage people to think twice about committing criminal acts. They Justice Ministry topmen sent the draft bill to judicial institutes for advice today. A press release from Government says the measure is part of the Governing accord. Government aims to collect some €65 million annually through the new legislation. And when the legislation takes effect, the convicts will also be required to contribute in the care of their victims. Convicts and the parents of adolescent convicts will be charged at least €16 per month in jail, with a maximum of two years. “The Minister and State Secretary say that it should not go without saying that society should carry all costs of criminal justice processes and care for victims. It’s the convicts that violated the law and received punishments. They have prompted action from Government and are held responsible for that. The wrongdoer should also contribute to the high bill that is associated with this action,” the release explained. It said parents of young convicts will be charged because when their delinquent children are locked up, Government takes over (an important) part of these children’s care and upbringing. The costs include those of police, Prosecutor’s Office, National Forensic Institute (NFI), court and victim care. Convicts will not be expected to foot the entire bill, but part of it that is calculated in a fixed amount that may vary. “That depends on whether the suspect is sentenced by a single judge or a court of multiple judges.” The legislation promised a simple administration; invoicing will happen as soon as the sentence takes effect and the convict will be required to pay within six weeks. Payment plans or extensions are possible, but the payment will be mandatory. Opstelten and Teeven argue that with the introduction of this legislation the Netherlands joins other European countries that already have similar arrangements in place. The measure will not apply to foreigners in immigrant lock-up.