Vught penal institution to be equipped with dedicated courtroom

Vught penal institution to be equipped with dedicated courtroom

The penal institution (PI) in Vught is to be equipped with an intramural courtroom. This is to make it possible for certain sections of criminal proceedings to take place within the walls of the penal institution, so that prisoners housed in its maximum security unit (Extra Beveiligde Inrichting, EBI) will have to be transported to external courtrooms for hearings less often. PI Vught will thus become the second venue in the Netherlands, after the Schiphol Criminal Justice Complex, to combine the administration of justice and detention at a single location.

This information emerged from a letter that Minister for Legal Protection Weerwind submitted to the Lower House of Parliament. In the current situation, prisoners who pose an extremely high risk of violent liberation or liquidation are transported to court in armoured vehicle columns that drive at high speed while using warning lights and sirens, resulting in serious traffic disruption and presenting an elevated security risk.

‘Administering justice within the penitentiary institution itself will make society more secure,’

Minister Weerwind claimed.

The new facility will consist of a small courtroom for certain sections of criminal proceedings. Which sections of those proceedings will actually take place in the courtroom in Vught will be for a competent court of law to decide.

The hearings at PI Vught will be open to the public and the media. Given the size of the courtroom, however, space will be limited. In the event of significant public interest, the hearings will be broadcast to the outside world by video link.

Construction of the new courtroom in Vught is already under way, at a cost of 15 million euros. The date of completion remains to be determined.

Previously, Minister Weerwind announced the installation of a video link in the EBI to allow prisoners to take part in hearings digitally.

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