Child porn & weapons easily smuggled into Utrecht prison psych clinic

Van der Hoeven psychiatric clinic in Utrecht
Van der Hoeven psychiatric clinic in Utrecht. Photo: Van der Hoeven Kliniek

Patients at prison psychiatric clinic Van der Hoeven in Utrecht can easily smuggle in pornography and drugs, newspaper AD reports based on its own investigation. The clinic denies these accusations. 

AD based its investigation on internal documents and interviews with ten clinic patients and lawyers representing patients in the clinic. 

One patient told the newspaper that it is very easy to smuggle drugs into Van der Hoeven. "You can sometimes go outside under supervision. It is easy to get someone to have drugs ready at a certain location. The supervisor does not always pay attention. If you go back into the clinic, there is not always a check. And if you bring it in anally, they find nothing at all."

The clinic also doesn't always punish patients caught with drugs, several sources told the newspaper. "I understand from my clients that patients who are caught may go on leave one day later. It looks like drug use is allowed", lawyer Jan Jesse Lieftink said to the newspaper. 

In November last year, clinic management found that patients had unlimited access to the internet because no restrictions were placed on one computer, according to the newspaper. Sources told AD that patients used this computer to watch child pornography on the dark web. An internal document also showed that one patient had a computer for months without the clinic knowing. "The computer appears to be from penitentiary institution Vught. It may have been given to him in a box by mistake during his move", the document states. Pornographic DVDs were found with the computer.

The Van der Hoeven clinic denies the accusations in a statement published on its website. "Despite the fact that a number of responses from the organization have been processed, little attention is paid to the facts", the clinic said.

Incidents happen in all institutions where "people with the most severe and complex psychological problems" receive forced treatment. "It is therefore an illusion to think that this would not be the case in our clinic", Van der Hoeven said, but added: "Every incident is carefully investigated and where necessary measures are taken to prevent repetition."

The clinic has a "zero tolerance" protocol when it comes to contraband like drugs, child pornography and alcohol. "Brining in or having contraband always has consequences for patients, visitors or employees." the clinic said. "All patients returning from unaccompanied leave are always checked. All visitors to patients are also checked. Frequent (unannounced) room checks are performed and urine tests are performed. Drug sniffing dogs are also frequently used."

Van der Hoeven points out that it is a clinic, not a prison. "It is an illusion that an institution can get 100% free of contraband."

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