Psychiatric prison escape route to be closed off: minister

Convicted criminals who are thought to have mental health problems will soon no longer be able to avoid psychiatric prison by refusing to submit to evaluation by experts, the AD reports on Thursday.

At the moment, judges cannot send people to psychiatric prison (tbs) if they have not been assessed. Around half of suspects earmarked for assessment refuse to cooperate – around 70 people a year, according to the Telegraaf. This is because tbs clinic sentences can be prolonged indefinitely.
Junior justice minister Fred Teeven is now planning to allow the courts to use old psychiatric and other reports to decide if suspects should be given a psychiatric prison term on top of their ordinary jail sentence.
According to the AD, the change has been prompted by the father of a seven-year-old girl who was kidnapped and abused by a man who had avoided psychiatric prison. He collected 67,500 signatures on a petition calling for changes in the law.
However, according to Pieter van de Kruijs, chairman of the Dutch criminal law association, judges already have that option.
‘Judges already have the option of ordering people to be detained in a psychiatric prison without an assessment,’ he told the Volkskrant. ‘They just don’t do so very often… They would rather impose a longer term in an ordinary jail.’

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