Dutch life in prison sentences to be re-evaluated after 25 years

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State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice wants convicts sentenced to life in prison to be reassessed for possible release after they served 25 years. He thinks a special advisory board should determine whether the prisoner qualifies for released, the State Secretary wrote in a letter to parliament, NU.nl reports.

The advisory committee will step in to assess whether a prisoner can be released after he or she served 25 years. In this assessment, the committee will talk to the prisoner, family and victims of the prisoner in question The prisoner will also undergo a psychiatric examination in the Pieter Baan Center. The committee will then submit its finding to the State Secretary of Security and Justice, who will make the final decision.

Dijkhoff wants this system to also apply to prisoners already serving life sentences. According to Nieuwsuur, there are currently 33 of them in the Netherlands.

The State Secretary is updating the terms of a life-sentence due to a 2013 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that declared it "inhumane" to lock people up without a prospect of release. According to Dijkhoff, the life-sentence meets the European Convention of Human Rights "if there is any chance of release and a possibility of re-evaluation".