Source: (2003) Presented at the 17th International Conference for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, The Hague, Netherlands.

While highly professional by nature, the Dutch criminal justice system seeks methods to bridge the gap with the ‘community’, or more general, with civilians who become involved in procedures or who suffer from attacks on their safety as a consequence of crime. A number of these initiatives have been depicted in this paper. The question remains whether these initiatives actually succeed in bridging the perceived gap between the criminal justice system and the lay people; evaluations of the programmes do not, as yet, shed light on this issue. This paper, furthermore, has shed light on several aspects of the openness of the Dutch criminal justice system, both to process participants and to the general public. These aspects are of relevance for the question whether the criminal justice system has become too divorced from the concerns of ordinary people, and what can be done to make the system more open for those who become involved or who are interested in the operation of the system (Malsch, 2003). (excerpt)


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