Analysis Opinion

The Netherlands: "Going Dutch" – taking care of forensic mental healthcare

Michiel van der Wolf, psychologist and a lawyer, discusses the Dutch approach for dealing with those considered as mentally disordered offenders.

ICPR and Prison Insider asked several experts worldwide to share their insights in the framework of the project Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in 10 countries. Read Michiel van der Wolf’s insights.

"Give me the money, and I will cure all delinquents"

The barrier between forensic care and community care seems simply to have shifted, rather than being removed, contrary to the intention of this change of policy.

In a nation of merchants and accountants, money is indeed an issue, including when it comes to forensic mental health.


Michiel van der Wolf

Professor at Leiden University and Associate professor at the University of Groningen.

Michiel van der Wolf is a psychologist and a lawyer. He started his career in 2003 as a trainee psychologist in Dutch forensic mental healthcare units, known as “TBS clinics”. His doctoral thesis explored the historical background of the current treatment bottlenecks in the TBS system.
Michiel van der Wolf is currently Professor of Forensic Psychiatry, at Leiden University and Associate professor of Criminal Law, at the University of Groningen.

About the project

Understanding and reducing the use of imprisonment in ten countries

This comparative research and policy project is led by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), based at Birkbeck, University of London. To understand the causes and consequences of over-incarceration worldwide, ICPR has worked with a large network of NGOs, academic researchers and practitioners spanning this diverse selection of countries. ICPR partnered with Prison Insider in the latter stages of the project to shed light on aspects of prisoners’ lived experience in custody before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project team collaborated to gather national experts’ insights, and to facilitate a continuing global conversation around the key research findings.
The project focuses on five main themes that can be found in the drop-down menu.
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