Drug trafficking and threats to criminals in healthcare institutions: it is time to change course

André den Exter

Drug trafficking, incompetent staff, and other abuses have been discovered in more than a quarter of the care institutions that treat ex-prisoners with an addiction or a disorder. A significant proportion of these institutions do not have their affairs in order while they are still under contract with the Ministry of Justice and Security. André den Exter, Associate Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, expresses his criticism towards RTL Nieuws.

46 of the more than 160 providers of so-called forensic care do not have their affairs in order, according to research by RTL Nieuws. It concerns drug trafficking within the institution, incompetent staff, and threats. Some institutions even work with profit margins of thirty percent, and directors pay themselves bonuses of hundreds of thousands of euros. These abuses are worrisome, given that forensic care is a measure that is imposed on a suspect by a judge or the Public Prosecution Service. In that sense, the suspect has no choice but to undergo treatment in such an institution.

Banned from municipalities
It is precisely the high profits and profit distributions to directors that disturb Den Exter: "Contracting healthcare providers who grant dividend payments to directors may be legally possible, but that should never be accepted by the judiciary." Even when an institution is no longer welcome in certain municipalities due to suspicions of fraud or poor care, these institutions often still turn out to be under contract with the ministry, according to research by RTL Nieuws. Den Exter: "It is socially questionable that care providers with malpractice can simply continue their practices with the Ministry of Justice."

Turn things around
According to the Associate Professor of Health Law, i the Ministry of Justice and Security must change policy in the foreseeable future. According to him, they are even obliged to change it: “After all, this concerns a vulnerable group of healthcare users for who Justice is responsible. That creates obligations regarding the offered care.”

Associate professor
More information

Click here for the entire article from RTL Nieuws (in Dutch).

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