Less jail, more community service

29/08/2006 14:00

In 2005 the courts imposed nearly 186 thousand sanctions. This is 2 percent less than in 2004. The main drop was in jail and youth detention. The number of sentences involving community services increased.

Drop in number of jail sentences

In 2005 the Dutch courts pronounced over 124 thousand sentences involving a total of almost 186 thousand sanctions. This is a 2 percent decrease on 2004, when 189 thousand sanctions were imposed. There is a difference between the number of sentences and the number of sanctions because a judge can impose more than one sanction per sentence.
The strongest decrease in the sanctions imposed in 2005 was in the number of jail sentences, which dropped by 9 percent on 2004. Youth detention fell by almost 7 percent, while community services increased by 9 percent.

Sanctions

Sanctions

Extending capacity

Between 1995 and 2002 the number of sanctions steadily increased from 135 to 166 thousand. In 2003 the number suddenly rose sharply to 191 thousand. The sudden increase was due to the extended police and public prosecutor capacity. At the same time tracing and prosecuting were intensified. In 2004 and 2005 the number of sanctions imposed by the courts decreased a little.
The number of sentences rose from 97 thousand in 1995 to 124 thousand in 2005, including a sharp increase in 2003 as well.

Sentences and sanctions

Sentences and sanctions

Sharp increase in the share of community services

Between 1995 and 2005 the share of the main penalties fell from 81 to 77 percent. The breakdown in the kinds of sanctions underwent a structural change. Fines and jail sentences were down, while community services nearly doubled from 10 percent in 1995 to 21 percent in 2005. Community services were introduced as a sanction in the 1990s. Moreover, there is more room to impose community services in combination with other sanctions. Youth detention was introduced as a sanction in 1995. In 2005 its share had increased to 3 percent.

Distribution of the type of sanctions imposed

Distribution of the type of sanctions imposed

Jurriƫn de Jong and Nynke de Lange