A group of prisoners who went to court in an effort to stop their removal to a ‘less luxurious’ jail have lost their case, the Telegraaf says on Friday.
The 18 prisoners were angry they were being moved to make way for 242 Norwegian criminals who will be kept in the jail from September. The men, all of whom are serving at least 10 years, are able to cook for themselves, keep chickens and grow vegetables. They also have their own recreational area.
The court in The Hague did rule that junior justice minister Fred Teeven must offer the men ‘an adequate alternative’ for their present housing.
‘This alternative must take into account the fact that these are long-term prisoners and that the regime in their new accommodation is appropriate to this,’ the court said.
The deal to transfer the Norwegians to the Norgerhaven jail in Veenhuizen was officially signed at the beginning of this week.
The men’s lawyer, Hettie Cremers, told the Telegraaf she is reasonably satisfied by the ruling. An appeal will depend on how Teeven responds, she said.
The Netherlands is closing up to 19 prisons in an effort to cut costs and the deal with Norway will safeguard 239 full time jobs, Teeven said at the signing ceremony.
According to the Guardian, in Norway, prisoners and the wardens’ union are also opposed to the move.
‘We’re very sceptical about the agreement because it violates several fundamental principles, primarily family proximity to the prisoner during detention,’ said Hanne Hamsund, who heads an organisation representing Norwegian prisoners’ families.
The Norwegian authorities have pointed out that the distance from Oslo to the north of the country is greater than to the Netherlands but ‘not everyone lives in Oslo’, Hamsund said.
The agreement still has to be approved by both houses of parliament.
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