Increased customization of sentencing

Sentencing can be made more suitable and person-centred. This is the outcome of an investigatory analysis of the current sentencing system by Minister Franc Weerwind for Legal Protection. Each crime and each offender is unique. It is therefore essential that the punishment is appropriate for the offender. Weerwind therefore identified nine opportunities to optimize customized sentencing. Regarding these, he is submitting a letter to the House of Representatives.

"Putting the judge in a position to impose more customized sentencing ensures a safer country. It prevents recidivism and increases the effectiveness of the system in achieving sentencing objectives. This analysis is a great contribution, and we can prepare the building blocks for the following cabinet to continue this development,"

states Minister Franc Weerwind.

The analysis was therefore conducted with the criminal justice chain and scientists to determine whether our current sentencing system sufficiently considers which sentence is most appropriate. By imposing a penalty, we compensate injustice. In doing so, we do justice to victims and work to prevent crime recurrence.

One of the opportunities explored is for convicts to serve their sentence from the outset in a limited-security section of the prison so that they do not lose their jobs or homes. Another is for community service to be expanded to include care and learning elements. This contributes to the successful completion of community service and to preventing the criminal from re-offending. Additionally, the judge occasionally lacks specific information when imposing a sentence or deciding whether someone should remain incarcerated pending the hearing of the criminal case. If the judge receives advice from the probation service more often at an early stage, the judge can better decide whether to detain a suspect.

With the elaboration of these nine opportunities, Weerwind is responding to a motion by House of Representatives member Joost Sneller (D66). Given the caretaker status of the cabinet, decisions on the implementation of measures must be made by the successive ministers involved.