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NCJ Number: 76676 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice System - Netherlands
Corporate Author: Canada Correctional Service
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 62
Sponsoring Agency: Canada Correctional Service
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P9, Canada
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English; French
Country: Canada
Annotation: The criminal justice and correctional systems in the Netherlands are briefly described and assessed in this background paper prepared for a committee considering the long-term future of the Canadian correctional system.
Abstract: The Netherlands' criminal justice system operates on the philosophy that the system is the least appropriate mechanism through which to solve social problems. The system has generally benevolent attitudes and emphasizes treatment of all offenders. Wide discretionary powers exist at all levels of the system. The judicial process is more inquisitorial than adversary in nature. Imprisonment is seen as a last resort; when there is imprisonment, sentences are short. The death penalty was abolished in 1870 and there has been no discussion of its reinstatement. The Netherlands has the lowest incarceration rate of all Western nations. Sanctions include fines, suspended sentences, and four kinds of imprisonment. Use of fines has been increasing, and use of imprisonment has been decreasing. The correctional system operates on the philosophy that offenders need some form of treatment while being punished. Traditional prisons are seen as humanizing and degrading; the rehabilitative model is practiced. Emphasis during confinement is on programs to aid the offenders' reintegration into society. Under the 'walking convict' concept, offenders can choose within limits, when to serve their sentences. Institutions are generally small and have a low emphasis on security. Special institutions are provided for mentally abnormal offenders. The rate of crimes against the person has remained stable, while the rate of property crimes has increased. Although the system appears to be an attractive model at first examination, it has certain drawbacks. Among these are the system's increasing centralization as facilities are closed, which reduces its orientation toward the community; unrest among long-term inmates due to the lenient sentencing policy and high turnover among short-term inmates; and little citizen involvement in corrections. Other problems are the handling of criminal psychopaths, the contradictory nature of the walking convict concept, and the high costs of the system. Despite tentative findings regarding the failure of rehabilitation, the Dutch seem unlikely to abandon their treatment model of corrections. Appendixes presenting background information and statistics, a bibliography listing 17 references, and a French translation of the entire document are provided.
Index Term(s): Canada; Cultural influences; Netherlands; Rehabilitation
Note: This document contains a French version of 29 pages. Strategic Planning Committee Background Report number 5.
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