New bill forces felons to pay €16 per day in prison

Prisoners will have to help pay the costs incurred by the government for their investigation and prosecution. They will also have to pay a contribution for their accommodation in prison.

Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice sent two legislative proposals to the Second Chamber that will arrange this. This measure comes from the VVD/PvdA coalition. The ministers find it acceptable that convicts who broke the law will also be responsible for the cost incurred by the police and the Public Prosecution.

Furthermore, they will also have to make a contribution of 16 euro per day towards the prison, with a maximum of 2 years. This applies to both prisoners and forensic psychiatric patients, but also for the parents of juvenile offenders. The ministers point out that about half of all prisoners spend less than one month in the cell, so the contribution will amount to less than 500 euro.

The Dutch Oder of Lawyers is against this plan. According to them the average convict is not wealthy and won't be able to afford this. "We find it all important that a convict finds his way back into society after a punishment", says Bert Fibbe, member of the General Council of the order. "That is hampered by such a measure. We are dealing with a vulnerable group. The chance is good that they err again with such a large debt."