A prison sentence imposed in a member state of the European Union

If the country in which the Dutch citizen is serving his sentence is a Member State of the European Union, the applicable rules are different from those that apply when the country is not a Member State of the European Union. 

The fact is that the European countries have together drawn up a single European convention concerning this subject, which is applicable to all EU Member States. In the Netherlands, the procedure to implement this convention has been laid down in the Judgments in Criminal Matters (Mutual Recognition and Enforcement) Act (WETS). The basic principle of the WETS is that the authorities of the European Member States determine mutually whether it is possible to transfer the sentence. In order to realise a transfer, both countries must have transposed the agreements of the European Convention into national legislation. 

Conditions to enable a sentenced person to serve out the remainder of a sentence in the Netherlands on the basis of the WETS

  1. The homeland is no longer in a position to simply refuse to carry out the remainder of a sentence from another Member State. This refusal is subject to clear rules.
  2. The sentenced person's consent to the transfer is no longer required. It is, however, still possible for the sentenced person to personally start the transfer procedure by submitting a request to the local authorities. The sentence imposed in the European Member State may be adjusted only on points agreed in advance. A sentence taken over by the Netherlands must have been imposed for an offence that is also punishable in the Netherlands, and will always be adjusted to be in line with the maximum sentence applicable for such offence in the Netherlands. In addition, the principle applies that the Netherlands takes over the foreign sentence without adjustment.
  3. The Member States have agreed on the terms for the recognition decision and the transfer.

For more information about the procedures of the WOTS and the WETS, please refer to the website www.dji.nl. 

More information about the procedures of the WOTS and the WETS

The Ministry of Security and Justice has opened a special WETS and WOTS information line. The number is +31 (0)88 07 25 963.

For more information about the prison sentence and procedures with foreign countries, please visit the website www.dji.nl (in Dutch).

For more information about the conditional sentence with special conditions and the alternative sentence, please visit the website of the Public Prosecution Office. For more information about the implementation of supervision, please visit www.reclassering.nl (in Dutch).