Legal loophole: Netherlands moves to criminalise prison escapes

Legal loophole: Netherlands moves to criminalise prison escapes.

Legal loophole: Netherlands moves to criminalise prison escapes. Image: Viacheslav Nikolaenko /

In the Netherlands, escaping from prison or a psychiatric facility has historically not been considered a crime.

However, this only applies if the escapee acts alone; anyone who aids in the escape is subject to punishment.

When a prisoner escapes and is subsequently apprehended, they are typically returned to the institution to serve out their sentence.

However, aiding an escapee has always been illegal.

Despite this, the Dutch authorities have recognised the need to address this legal loophole.

Officially Punishable

Outgoing Minister for Legal Protection Franc Weerwind intends to introduce a legislative amendment in the summer to make escaping from prison officially punishable.

This initiative has been in progress for five years, with Weerwind pledging in 2019 to address the issue following pressure from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.

The proposed amendment would impose an additional four-year sentence on individuals who successfully break free from incarceration.

Weerwind recently acknowledged the delay in pushing forward with the bill, attributing it in part to the distractions caused by pandemic-related matters.

He assured parliament that he is actively working on advancing the legislation and is committed to implementing the necessary changes to ensure that escaping from prison is met with appropriate consequences.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.


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