Friday 07 October 2022

Jail time compensation to ex-suspects cost Dutch state €29m last year

Prison interior with dramatic lightThe Dutch state paid €29m in compensation and legal costs last year to people who were wrongly jailed, three times the total 10 years ago.

Last year 6,100 former suspects were given financial compensation for time spent in jail ahead of or during a legal process. Their compensation accounted for €11m of the bill. The rest went on legal fees, travel costs and lost income claims, the Volkskrant says on Friday.

The rise is due to the speed with which the Netherlands places suspects in custody, criminal lawyer Geertjan van Oosten told the paper. ‘Dutch judges are too quick to take such a decision,’ he said. ‘Sometimes they deal with 20 to 30 cases in a morning sitting, and that means just a couple of minutes per case.’

Almost half the people who end up on trial in the Netherlands spent time in custody ahead of their case being heard. This, the Volkskrant states, is the highest percentage in Europe.

Criminal case judge Elianne van Rens said there are problems with most alternatives to detention. Fitting suspects with electronic tags takes at least a month and the absence of border controls within Europe makes confiscating passports pointless, she said.

In addition, judges are under pressure from politicians and society at large to get tougher on criminals, she told the paper.

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