Stricter psych prison rules after Anne Faber's murder

The Ministry for Legal Protection implemented a number of extra measures and stricter rules for psychiatric institutions that treat prisoners following the murder of Anne Faber, Minister Sander Dekker said in a letter to parliament. The 25-year-old woman was raped and killed by Michael P., who was being treated by such a clinic at the time for the last part of the prison sentence he received for raping two minor girls.

Investigation by the Dutch Safety Board, the Inspectorate for Justice and Security, and the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate showed that P. was not being treated for his sex crime past, because he refused to be psychologically examined during his trial, refused treatment for this in prison, and the prison did not share this information with the clinic when he was transferred. The investigation also showed that P. was given a number of freedoms at the clinic - such as being allowed to visit the nearby town of Den Dolder unsupervised - without a risk assessment being done. It was during one of these unsupervised visit that he came across Anne Faber.

"The safety of society must come first, both during detention, treatment, and afterwards. We must show that we learn from mistakes made and that we make progress on announced measures. Today we can show the first results, but there is still a lot of work to do", Dekker said to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament.

One of the biggest problems revealed by the Michael P. case, was in the exchange of information. Improvements have already been made on this, Dekker said. It is already possible to share data from a prisoner's penitentiary file with the forensic care institution where the prisoner is placed. Following the P. investigation reports, Dekker also decided to no longer allow the relocation of detainees who do not cooperate in providing information. The Forensic Care Decree, which the government recently approved, will make more information exchange compulsory from the start of June. From then on data from prisoners' personal files, treatment files, and information about how well a prisoner sticks to their treatment must be shared with the forensic institution or probation service. 

After the Safety Board and Inspectorates concluded that there is insufficient insight into the risks associated with transferring a prisoner to a forensic clinic and the freedoms granted there, the Minister made it mandatory for a risk assessment to be done before convicts of serious violent- or sex crimes can be relocated. While this has already been applied in practice since March, it is now also laid down in the regulations with the Forensic Care Decree, Dekker said. 

Michael P. managed to avoid a mandatory psychiatric treatment sentence by refusing to be psychologically examined during his trial. Dekker also addressed this issue. The so-called refusal department in the Pieter Baan Center has been continued, where suspects who refuse examination can still be observed and thereby assessed. A proposal currently being considered in the Tweede Kamer will also make it possible for an advisory committee to request existing medical data about people who refused to be examined. 

Michael P. was sentenced to 28 years in prison with institutionalized psychiatric treatment for abducting, raping and killing Anne Faber. He must also pay Anne's family 140 thousand euros in damages. P. appealed against this sentence, and that appeal is currently ongoing.

In court on Wednesday, P. expressed regret for what he did. "Terrible facts", he said, according to NOS. "I am deeply aware of this and am very sorry." He also said he knows Anne Faber's family hates him, "rightly so". 

The Public Prosecutor demanded the same sentence on appeal that has already been imposed on P. The only difference is that the Prosecutor is now charging P. with murder instead of manslaughter, arguing in court that P. had a premeditated plan to kill the young woman. P.'s lawyers argue that he had no premeditated plan, and that the damaging reports on P.'s treatment should justify a reduction in his sentence. P.'s eventual confession should also be taken into account, according to the lawyers. He must be sentenced to no more than 20 years in prison, the lawyers believe.