Judges oppose minister’s plan to boost use of electronic tagging

The Dutch legal system is opposed to plans by junior justice minister Fred Teeven to increase the use of electronic tagging, rather than send people to jail.

Teeven plans to slash spending on prisons, closing up to 29, by increasing the number of prisoners who share cells and through greater use of electronic tagging. Tagged prisoners would also be forced to work.

But the influential Council for the Judiciary says in its recommendations to Teeven that the minister is encroaching on the role of judges who are charged with determining sentences. ‘If judges send someone to jail, they mean jail,’ council spokesman Peter Lemaire told Nos radio.

Judges are also concerned the minister will stoke unease in society at large about what many people consider to be a lighter sentence. Victims are also likely to be unhappy at the changes, Lemaire said.

In total, Teeven plans to cut €340m from the prison budget.

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