Sunday 17 January 2021

Courts awarded prisoners €28m in compensation last year

A prison corridor


The number of former prisoners who won compensation claims relating to their time in jail increased by 23% last year, according to official figures reported by broadcaster Nos.

In total, 17,600 people were compensated, either for being wrongfully detained or for other damages. The payouts amounted to a total €28 million, although the average amount of €1,584 was 22% less than a year ago.

Overall, 18,700 claims were made, of which 1,100 were rejected. The number of claims in 2014 was lower at 15,400, of which 14,300 were successful.

The Dutch statistics office CBS, which released the figures, attributed both the increase in claims and the reduction in payouts to the fact that more people were being detained for shorter periods.

The Dutch Association of Criminal Lawyers (NVSA) said the number of payouts was ‘extremely high’. ‘Other countries are more inclined to question and investigate people while they are at liberty, but we prefer to put them behind bars,’ chairman Geertjan van Oosten told the Nos Radio 1 Journaal.

The figures also showed that the number of prisoners applying for pardons fell from 1,424 to 1,163. Overall 28% of requests were granted, with conditions attached in around a quarter of cases.

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