Institution for Repeat Offenders Not Suitable for Foreign Nationals

The Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Youth Protection advises against the proposal of the Minister of Justice to place foreign nationals with no right of residence that have been sentenced to placement in an institution for repeat offenders together in one institution. The advice was issued on the request of the Minister. For a year now, the PIR measure (Placement in an Institution for Repeat offenders) can also be imposed on foreign nationals who are not allowed to stay in the Netherlands after having served their sentence. The Minister expects that the PIR-measure will urge some of these foreign nationals to cooperate in their departure from the Netherlands after all. The Council takes the position that if the PIR measure is imposed in these cases it does not concern a complete measure, because the treatment for which the measure is intended is lacking. The measure would then result in just a two-year detention. The Council is of the opinion that the measure should not be used for that purpose. Imprisonment for the purpose of repatriation can be achieved by means of aliens detention. This is protected by a number of legal safeguards that are lacking in the PIR-measure.

A PIR-measure implies that repeat offenders of usually relatively minor offences are sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to two years. In these two years their addiction or other problems can be tackled to end their nuisance-causing life style. During the last part of his term the offender is set free under supervision in order to learn to lead a normal life again. For this group of foreign nationals, however, the measure is not aimed at resocialization in the Dutch or foreign society. This means that the measure is enforced entirely within the walls of the institution. According to the Council this is at odds with the purpose of the measure. There is no real treatment, whereas this is necessary to justify the term of the placement in view of the relatively minor offences for which the measure is usually imposed.

Furthermore, the Council finds the new PIR alternative unnecessary, because there are already enough other options for taking action against criminal offences and illegal residence in the Netherlands. In addition, application of the PIR measure circumvents the (internationally prescribed) legal protection concerning aliens detention. Aliens detention, for example, may only last longer than half a year in very exceptional cases.

The Council does not expect that the measure, including the placement in one institution of this group, will contribute to an effective repatriation. Developing a programme that effectively prepares the foreign national for re-entry in his country of destination does not seem feasible. In addition, it often concerns foreign nationals whose repatriation has failed before. As a final point, the group for which the measure is intended proves to be small so far: in a year’s time only a few foreign nationals have been placed in an institution for repeat offenders.