Although suspects of serious crimes increasingly refuse to cooperate in a personality test at the Pieter Baan Center, judges are imposing more tbs. This is evident from figures that EenVandaag requested.
The number of TBS orders has increased by almost 60 percent in 6 years. Since the Anne Faber case, in the autumn of 2017, it has increased from 207 impositions to 328 last year.
The missing and murder of Anne Faber
The 25-year-old Anne Faber disappeared on September 29, 2017 during a bike ride in the Den Dolder area. Anne’s family and friends launched a major search operation and, together with volunteers and the police, combed the entire area.
More than a week after her disappearance, Michael P., a convicted sex offender who was reintegrating into society at a nearby clinic, was arrested. He came into view via a DNA trace on a found jacket.
On October 12, Anne’s body was found in a nature reserve near Zeewolde. P. was sentenced by the Court to 28 years in prison and TBS.
‘Failing legal process’
In an earlier case, the Court had wanted to impose tbs on Michael P., but did not do so because P. had refused to cooperate in a personality study at the Pieter Baan Center.
Anne’s father called his daughter’s death the result of the ‘failure of justice’. If P. had had tbs, Anne would still have been alive, he said.
‘Something to think about’
Criminal judge Anja van Holten understands ‘very well’ that Anne’s father felt this way. The Faber case gave the judiciary ‘food for thought’, says the judge associated with the Overijssel court.
She also handles many TBS cases herself. Tbs calls them ‘the most complete and beautiful treatment in our country’. “They are very good clinics with a lot of good people who can achieve very special things.”
The judiciary took criticism from society after the murder of Anne Faber. “Something has happened in our organization,” says Van Holten. For example, there was a scientific investigation into whether there was enough knowledge among judges and public prosecutors when they could or could not impose tbs.
That led to an increase in knowledge, says the judge.
‘Not for the faint of heart’
According to Van Holten, the fact that judges have started to impose more TBS is a combination of factors. But Anne Faber’s case certainly had an impact. Society’s security has become more prominent, she says. And their responsibility has also permeated more and more to the judges.
That’s not to say there’s fear among judges to misjudge, she adds. “Fear is a crazy word, justice is not for the faint of heart,” she says. “You have to decide what is the most appropriate decision at the time with the data you have at the time.” We are more aware of the risks to society.
Safety of society
“The longer you are in this work, the easier it is to zoom in on conceivable scenarios,” says the criminal court. “We cannot impose tbs on everyone for fear that someone will commit another criminal offense,” she says. But they don’t impose TBS just to be sure, explains Van Holten.
There are also people for whom you do not know in advance whether the treatment will work, says Van Holten. “Then there is doubt about it, but then the safety of society still demands it.”
Increasing number of refusers
The number of suspects who refuse to cooperate in a personality test has increased again in recent years. That went from 34 percent in 2018 to 40 percent last year, according to figures from the Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. “If people refuse and there is little information about their diseases, it is difficult for judges.”
The judge must determine a disorder in order to impose tbs, but does not necessarily need a personality test from the Pieter Baan Center. That has changed after the Faber case, thinks Van Holten. “There is now a realization among judges that you can still impose tbs.”
Request information yourself
The judge can request information himself. “You have to actively think about what can be used,” says Van Holten. “Old reports or other information. That can be with descriptions of behavior or the bizarreness of a crime. Sometimes it is a sum of those kinds of points.”
Tbs remains unpopular, she says. She suspects that this is because it is unclear when it will end.
‘If it is necessary, it is necessary’
Now that more TBS has been imposed, the system does come to a standstill. “There are 118 people on the waiting list for a place in the clinic. That is really a lot,” says Van Holten. That shouldn’t be allowed. “You have to make sure there is enough space.”
“But”, she emphasizes, “we only impose TBS if it is really necessary, also for society. We do not care about the number of beds. If it is necessary, it is necessary.”