Ministers are pressing ahead with their controversial plan to make people found guilty of a crime pay towards the cost of the police investigation, trial and imprisonment.
Justice minister Ivo Opstelten and his deputy Fred Teeven have submitted draft legislation to parliament which will also force criminals to pay towards the care of their victims. ‘People who have been found guilty of a crime have broken the law, they have forced the government to intervene and should contribute to the cost of this,’ the legislation states.
Payment will be made in installments over a period of six months and delays can be worked out for people who cannot pay, the ministers say.
Prisoners will be asked to pay €16 a day for a maximum of two years towards the cost their keep, costing them up to €11,680. There will be lower charges for the parents of minors.
The Dutch law society is totally opposed to the plan. ‘The average prisoner does not have money, and you cannot give what you don’t have,’ spokesman Bert Fibbe told broadcaster Nos.
In addition, the plan will make it more difficult for people with criminal convictions to return to normal society. ‘There is a real risk people with a major debt will go off the rails again,’ he said.
Lawyers are also angry that the financial penalty will be imposed without the intervention of a judge.
Ministers hope to raise €65m a year from the fees. ‘In doing this, the Netherlands is following a large number of other European countries which have similar systems,’ the ministry statement said.
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