SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Judges are sentencing people convicted of violent and sexual crimes to longer sentences than they were 20 years ago, according to research by the Council for the Judiciary.
On average, sentences for violent crimes have gone up by two-thirds over the period, researcher Frank van Tulder said. Vandalism and traffic offences are also subject to higher penalties – with sentences up around 10%.
‘It would appear that judges are reacting to calls from wider society for tougher sentencing, particularly when it comes to violent crime,’ Van Tulder said. At the same time, sentences for threatening behaviour and minor drugs offences have gone down.
Community service is also increasingly used instead of fines rather than a prison term, the research showed. In total, Van Tulder looked at the way courts dealt with 39 different types of crime.
Broadcaster NOS points out that the maximum sentences for some crimes, such as murder and attacking emergency service workers, have also been raised during the period.