External expertise to improve Pompestichting

For one year, independent experts will monitor new improvements for the Forensic Psychiatric Centre (FPC) Pompestichting in Nijmegen. The Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) will appoint these independent experts at the request of Minister Franc Weerwind for Legal Protection. The experts are also tasked with ensuring that Pompestichting is stimulated to continue to work on improvements.

The Inspectorate of Justice and Security investigated the escape of two forensic patients from the FPC in June last year and concludes that the clinic learnt too little of its experience. ‘The escape from such a high-security clinic is unacceptable. The inspectorate pointing out the learning ability is a harsh message. But it is a message that fuels my ambition to keep building a sector that learns from incidents and continuously commits to improvements', writes Weerwind to the House of Representatives. ‘Learning takes effort and is never finished. It requires critical self-reflection, an open attitude and room for observations.”

The clinic has indicated to fully cooperate with the appointment of the experts, who will have access to the clinic and will be able to request documentation and speak to employees at their own discretion. The experts will comment on the execution of the improvement plan and any steps made, both when asked and at their own initiative. After a year, the Minister will decide if the appointment of the experts is extended based on the results.

Continuous learning and improving

The Minister expresses his great appreciation for the employees in the FPCs, who perform difficult, complex and challenging work every day. ‘Continuous learning and improving is part of that,’ Weerwind writes. Pompestichting is strongly committed to training its staff for better forensic insight. This allows employees to learn how to better estimate the risks regarding a client in view of their disorder and to better consider the freedom that can be offered.

In the meantime, Pompestichting has built a new fence, creating a double layer of 5 meters high. New technology is installed for improved monitoring. The building is also being altered to allow guards an improved view of the terrain and the access control for the outer yard is adjusted. The Minister will inform the House of Parliament before summer next year on the progress of the measures taken at Pompestichting.