Report criticises get tough on crime measures

The tough anti-crime measures introduced by prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende during his first term in office have been criticised by the government’s social policy advisory unit SCP.

The SCP report analysed the effects of the ongoing anti-crime measures in the security programme ‘Towards a Safer Society 2002-2006’, brought in when Balkenende’s Christian Democratic party was in a right-wing coalition.
It concludes that the effectiveness of re-education camps for young offenders such as Glenn Mills (modelled on the Spartan US boot camps), longer prison sentences for minor offences, the increase in the number of police officers on the street and camera monitoring had never been properly evaluated.
Moreover, ‘the evaluations which have been carried out did not meet minimum standards for conducting research’.
The SCP is particularly critical of get-tough measures ‘such as longer jail sentences for minor offences which according to a number of studies do not work’.
And it referred to another study released at the end of January which concluded that boot camps had ‘a counter-productive effect’. Offenders sent to the Glenn Mills camps were more likely to commit crimes after their release than those sent to other institutions, that survey showed.
Having more police on the street does make people feel safer and has an effect on crime, the SCP said. However, camera surveillance also makes people feel safer but its effect on crime is limited, the researchers said.

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