Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This research explores the impact of the 2015 institution of prosecution guidelines in the Netherlands. Prior to this switch, the Openbaar Ministerie operated using a punishment point system, which provided a mathematical formula with which to decide sanctions. Though the motivation of this change was to make the overall system more efficient and enable individual prosecutors to consider each case in a customizable and more equitable form, this research demonstrates that the change has served instead as a perpetuator (and in some cases, facilitator) of the persistent ethnic and gender biases already at work in the Netherlands. The social and political history of the country has ensured generations of prejudice and disproportionate experiences within the criminal legal system, especially for racialized Others, which have resulted in discriminatory sentencing for those individuals. This paper shows that these experiences have not changed, or have become more aggravated, after the prosecution guidelines implementation.


Criminology and Criminal Justice | European Languages and Societies | International Law | Jurisprudence | Law and Race | Law and Society | Legal History | Migration Studies


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