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Editorial

Access_open Legal Control on Social Control of Sex Offenders in the Community: A European Comparative and Human Rights Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords social control, folk devils, moral panic, dangerousness, sex offenders
Authors Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper provides first of all the introduction to this special issue on ‘Legal constraints on the indeterminate control of “dangerous” sex offenders in the community: A European comparative and human rights perspective’. The issue is the outcome of a study that aims at finding the way legal control can not only be an instrument but also be a controller of social control. It is explained what social control is and how the concept of moral panic plays a part in the fact that sex offenders seem to be the folk devils of our time and subsequently pre-eminently the target group of social control at its strongest. Further elaboration of the methodology reveals why focussing on post-sentence (indeterminate) supervision is relevant, as there are hardly any legal constraints in place in comparison with measures of preventive detention. Therefore, a comparative approach within Europe is taken on the basis of country reports from England and Wales, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain. In the second part of the paper, the comparative analysis is presented. Similar shifts in attitudes towards sex offenders have led to legislation concerning frameworks of supervision in all countries but in different ways. Legal constraints on these frameworks are searched for in legal (sentencing) theory, the principles of proportionality and least intrusive means, and human rights, mainly as provided in the European Convention on Human Rights to which all the studied countries are subject. Finally, it is discussed what legal constraints on the control of sex offenders in the community are (to be) in place in European jurisdictions, based on the analysis of commonalities and differences found in the comparison.


Michiel van der Wolf (Issue Editor)
Ph.D., LL.M, M.Sc., Reader in Criminal Law (Theory) and Forensic Psychiatry at the Erasmus School of Law; Member of the Editorial Board of the Erasmus Law Review.
Article

Access_open Legal Constraints on the Indeterminate Control of ‘Dangerous’ Sex Offenders in the Community: The Dutch Perspective

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 2 2016
Keywords Dutch penal law, preventive supervision, dangerous offenders, human rights, social rehabilitation
Authors Sanne Struijk and Paul Mevis
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the Netherlands, the legal possibilities for post-custodial supervision have been extended considerably in recent years. A currently passed law aims to further increase these possibilities specifically for dangerous (sex) offenders. This law consists of three separate parts that may all result in life-long supervision. In the first two parts, the supervision is embedded in the conditional release after either a prison sentence or the safety measure ‘ter beschikking stelling’ (TBS). This paper focuses on the third part of the law, which introduces an independent supervisory safety measure as a preventive continuation of both a prison sentence and the TBS measure. Inevitably, this new independent sanction raises questions about legitimacy and necessity, on which this paper reflects from a human rights perspective. Against the background of the existing Dutch penal law system, the content of the law is thoroughly assessed in view of the legal framework of the Council of Europe and the legal principles of proportionality and less restrictive means. In the end, we conclude that the supervisory safety measure is not legitimate nor necessary (yet). Apart from the current lack of (empirical evidence of) necessity, we state that there is a real possibility of an infringement of Article 5(4) ECHR and Article 7 ECHR, a lack of legitimising supervision ‘gaps’ in the existing penal law system, and finally a lack of clear legal criteria. Regardless of the potential severity of violent (sex) offenses, to simply justify this supervisory safety measure on the basis of ‘better safe than sorry’ is not enough.


Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.

Paul Mevis
Paul Mevis is a Professor at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Raising Barriers to ‘Outlaw Motorcycle Gang-Related Events’

Underlining the Difference between Pre-Emption and Prevention

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Prevention, pre-crime, pre-emption, risk, outlaw motorcycle gangs
Authors Teun van Ruitenburg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fighting outlaw motorcycle gangs is currently one of the top priorities of many governments around the world. This is due to the notion that outlaw motorcycle gangs do not consist solely of motorcycle enthusiasts. Numerous cases reveal that these clubs, or at least their members, are involved in (organised) crime. In order to tackle these clubs, the former Dutch Minister of Security and Justice announced a whole-of-government strategy towards outlaw motorcycle gangs in 2012. As part of this effort, authorities such as the Dutch National Police, the Public Prosecution Service, the Dutch Tax Authority and local governments aim to cooperate in order to disrupt and restrict outlaw motorcycle gangs by means of Criminal, Administrative and Civil Law. Part of this strategy is to hinder club-related events. This article discusses the latter strategy in light of the distinction between prevention and pre-emption. As the latter two concepts are often used interchangeably, this article attempts to use a more strict division between prevention and pre-emption. Thereby, it becomes apparent that outlaw motorcycle gangs are to some extent governed through uncertainty. The author suggests that maintaining the ‘prevention–pre-emption distinction’ can offer an interesting and valuable point of departure for analysing today’s crime policies.


Teun van Ruitenburg
Teun van Ruitenburg, MSc., is PhD Candidate at the Criminology Department of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Frank Furedi
Frank Furedi is a professor of Sociology, School of Social Policy, Sociology, Social Research, The University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NY, Email; <F.Furedi@kent.ac.uk>.

Roel Pieterman
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