Measures in women’s prisons after inspection report Nieuwersluis PI
Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind and the Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) are taking measures to tackle transgressive behaviour in women’s prisons. The Inspectorate of justice and Security started an investigation into the culture in Nieuwersluis Penal Institution (PI) after a former employee was arrested in June last year for sexually transgressive behaviour. According to the Inspectorate, there is a culture within Nieuwersluis PI that makes it possible for penal staff to exhibit transgressive behaviour. Minister Weerwind sent the Inspectorate report and his response to the House of Representatives today.
Minister Weerwind: “The report has affected me. I’m deeply touched by the findings and firm conclusions of the Inspectorate. Detainees are entrusted to our care during their sentence. They must be treated with integrity. Transgressive behaviour is unacceptable. The prison must be a safe environment for both detainees and staff members. That’s why I’m adopting all the recommendations of the Inspectorate and we’re also implementing measures at the other two women’s prisons.”
With a package of measures, the minister wants to guarantee social safety in women’s prisons together with the DJI. Since the Inspectorate’s investigation only focused on the situation in Nieuwersluis PI, there will also be investigations into the situation in the other two women’s penal institutions.
Hotline and safe culture
If there is a suspicion of transgressive behaviour, detainees must be able to report this safely and without barriers. That is why one of the measures is that a separate, dedicated officer for transgressive behaviour is added to the Supervisory Committee at all prisons. That officer must be accessible and visible to the detainees. Detainees can report an incident confidentially to the Supervisory Committee. The report shows that not all detainees are aware of this. Therefore, this possibility will be brought to their attention better. The Detainees Committee is also involved in this.
In addition, the DJI Training Institute is developing a special training course that gives staff members clear frameworks for working with female prisoners. Staff members who work or will work with female prisoners must follow this training course. It is imperative that employees feel safe to speak out and to address each other about each other’s behaviour. The DJI will make extra efforts to increase social safety. For example, by teaching staff members under professional supervision how to discuss dilemmas with each other. Staff members must also know where they can report transgressive behaviour. The ‘Guidelines for reporting integrity violations’ will be updated and brought to the attention.
Together with the DJI, the minister will closely monitor the effect of these measures.
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