Attorney General Pietersz pushes for more conditional sentences

POSTED: 08/22/11 12:28 PM

ORANJESTAD – Attorney General Rob Pietersz favors conditional prison sentences over short-term imprisonment. The AG said during the installation of the new judge Van Leur that for certain crimes this is a better solution to prevent revolving door criminality and overcrowded prison cells.
Pietersz recommends the conditional sentences for crimes that would normally earn a suspect a short prison sentence, and he wants to combine the conditional sentence with tailor-made conditions.
The attorney general said that statistics show an increase in the number of people who commit crimes for the first time. The period wherein repeat offenders commit another crime becomes shorter, in spite of the fact that they are punished regularly. “That makes people think,” Pietersz said, adding that justice is not the only one capable of doing something to fight the increase in criminality. “The monopoly for managing or reducing crime does not belong to the justice chain and it should not be put there either. For sustainable solutions we need prevention and for that others outside this chain have to give their support.”
To prevent criminals from becoming repeat offenders requires a behavioral change in the offender, Pietersz said. “Prison sentences are often too short, while imposing conditional sentences offers many more opportunities. By imposing conditional sentences with longer probation-periods and conditions that are specific for the offender, there is a good chance to achieve behavioral change.”
Pietersz said that such a punishment is often “more drastic and heavier” than a brief prison sentence whereby the offender has to go to jail. With the special conditions it is possible to address the core of the problems that inspired offenders to commit a crime.
The attorney general said that public prosecutors ought to clarify better the circumstances of the crime, the person of the offender and the additional conditions for the punishment. “That makes it easier for a judge to opt for a conditional sentence instead of an unconditional one.”
Pietersz said that this has advantages for the offenders, because they will get stricter supervision, and that it also means that less people with short sentences end up in prison. He emphasized that offenders who do not stick to the conditions will have to go to jail. Pietersz announced that the Public Prosecutor’s Office will highlight the tit for tat policy.
The policy will create more space in the prison for heavy criminals, Pietersz said, adding that this was a friendly hint towards Judge van Leur, who has studied the problem of too many inmates in one cell.”

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