Thursday, 28 July 2011

Esther van Ginneken in Dutch newspaper NRC Next

Esther van Ginneken, Ph.D. student at the IoC, has written an opinion article in the Dutch newspaper NRC Next which was published on Friday 8 July 2011. Since most of the readers of this blog probably will not be able to read Dutch, I will give a brief overview of what she has written and why she wrote the article.

The Dutch Secretary of Justice continues to introduce proposals for tougher punishments, such as minimum prison sentences for repeat offenders. With these proposals he wants to answer to public demands for more punitive sentencing. However, sentencing in the Netherlands has already become more punitive over the last ten years, and is certainly not lenient when compared to other European countries. Furthermore, the public's knowledge about actual sentencing practices may be limited.

Esther's article briefly describes some of the impact of a prison sentence, and it explains that longer prison sentences may be counterproductive. The article recommends that more attention needs to be paid to alternative punishments, and to restorative justice in particular. It is argued that politicians should focus less on populist rhetoric and more on understanding and addressing the causes of crime.

Well done Esther for making criminological knowledge and the results of academic research known to the public!

Also, if you do want to read the original article, contact Esther!

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