Are you a Dominican man who has insulted the King of the Netherlands during your stay there? Are you now convicted to multiple years of prison by a Dutch court? Were you expecting to serve your sentence in a prison boat on a canal? Sorry, you will be serving that sentence on the floor of a concentration camp in the tropics.
The Caribbean daily Acento is reporting that the Dominican Chancellor, Andres Navarro, and his Dutch counterpart, Marijke Van Drunen Littel, have signed an agreement allowing for prisoners to serve their sentences in a country different from where the crime was committed, thus creating the very real possibility that a Dominican citizen in the Netherlands could be shipped to Dominican prison for breaking Dutch law.
Although Dutch prisons are known for their relatively luxurious standards, Abreu Report just this past February wrote about Francisco, a former member of the Basque terrorist group ETA who was sentenced to time in the Dominican Republic for drug offenses, crimes allegedly committed to fund the group's terrorist activities.
|Dominican is the new orange. La Sexta|
Francisco was trailed inside of the largest prison on the Caribbean by a Spanish TV crew, and the scenes they described were simply horrific: starving, emaciated inmates picking fruit off the floor that had been discarded by wealthier prisoners; men being forced to pay for the privilege of sleeping on the barren floor of a cholera-ridden cell; men dying of easily-treatable illnesses because they are unable to afford common medication; and other barbarities not fit for a prison in the 20th century, much less the 21st.
And now the Dutch government will begin exporting its convicts to the Dominican Republic, with the Dominican Chancellor saying that this agreement was proof of how far along Dominican law had come, that the Netherlands could now confide in the country's ability to properly treat men convicted of crimes in developed democracies.
The Netherlands, which for years has been trying to lower the number of people in its prisons as it faces a financial crunch, will be able to maintain that decline, especially given the likelihood that the country is signing more agreements like this one, with the most likely objective of continuously lowering its inmate population, even at the expense of those convicted of crimes themselves.
As the Netherlands still maintains trials in absentia, this agreement also opens up the possibility for men who have not even been put on trial in person to serve prison sentences in the Dominican Republic.
Knowing the Dutch way, I'm certain life will be made a living hell for those who don't "willingly accept" relocation to the tropics: we may see that Dutch prison officials are unable to provide proper protection to certain high-profile inmates, thus necessitating a Caribbean transfer.