Case File TBS

Psychiatry has an increasing influence in Dutch criminal law through the forensic psychiatric tbs measure. There is a movement that believes that humans can be reduced to chance chemistry in the brain and that there is therefore no question of free will or guilt. Ideally, according to this movement, criminal law should be replaced by psychiatric treatment and preventive psychiatric measures.

Authoritative Dutch lawyers have been resisting the forensic psychiatry tbs measure for years, including a boycott of the tbs measure in 2009. The lawyers denounce the ‘arbitrariness by controversial doctors’ that lays at the basis of the measure.

(2009) Lawyers advise clients against tbs Lawyers advise their clients not to cooperate in a psychiatric examination in the Pieter Baan Center, which results in a boycott of the tbs measure. According to the lawyers, assessments at TBS institutions are arbitrary and it is especially not clear when someone has been treated resulting in a situation of indefinite incarceration. Sources: Het Parool (PDF) |

Psychiatric diagnoses are arguably controversial, leading to a situation of arbitrariness.

(2019) Psychiatric diagnosis ‘scientifically meaningless’ Clinical psychology professor John Read, University of East London, said: “Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.” Source: Science Daily

The situation of arbitrariness leads to absurd situations in which dozens of psychiatrists debate in the media whether a perpetrator has been diagnosed with schizophrenia or not, as was the case with the Belgian murderer Kim de G. who, dressed as a Joker, murdered babies in a nursery. In the case of Kim de G., ultimately 12 psychiatrists have publicly stated conflicting diagnoses.

Before committing his crime, Kim de G. was about to be forcibly admitted to a mental institution after his parents went to see a psychiatrist. But the family doctor disagreed with the psychiatrist and called in another psychiatrist, who judged Kim de G. as a healthy boy.

Two psychiatrists diagnosed Kim de G. with schizophrenia just before his heinous crime, while two other psychiatrists judged him to be a perfectly normal boy with whom was nothing wrong. Ultimately, after his heinous crime, a team of five psychiatrists assessed Kim de G. as a healthy boy.

(2010) Kim de G. is healthy Source: De Telegraaf

The Dutch case involving the Bijenkorf mother also expressed arbitrariness in which the mother who killed her child by throwing her off the balustrade in the Bijenkorf department store was diagnosed with a ‘one-off psychosis‘ back in time so that she received no punishment and no psychiatric treatment, and thus was simply set free.


Bijenkorf mother set free

The Public Prosecution Service spoke of a „flawed psychiatric examination”, partly because the suspect would have been keen to get out of the TBS measure. In addition, the four psychiatrists who initially examined the woman had come to differing diagnoses, which forced the then court, at the insistence of the Public Prosecution Service, to have the woman admitted for observation to the psychiatric observation clinic Pieter Baan Center (PBC), in order to to get out of the impasse that had arisen.

According to the psychiatrists of the PBC, the woman was completely insane at the time of the incident in the department store. She is said to have suffered from a one-time paranoid psychosis. The woman was completely in the grip of delusions and disconnected from reality. The Court of Appeal has adopted the conclusion of the Pieter Baan Center that no mental disorder has been established in the woman and that the psychosis was a one-off.

German postman becomes a forensic psychiatrist

Gert Postel book

After a disastrous treatment of his mother, the German postman Gert Postel wanted to prove that psychiatry is a scam and successfully infiltrated the forensic psychiatric establishment and was almost appointed professor of forensic psychiatry and director of a forensic clinic with made-up diagnoses.

Postel: ‘In psychiatry, you can explain everything in a plausible way: as a psychiatrist you can claim the opposite, but also the opposite of the opposite. Who masters the psychiatric vocabulary can go on endlessly debiting nonsense and pack educated people.’

Postel: ‘It's a matter of psychiatric speech acrobatics and a bit of staging.’ Postel: ‘I thought to myself: who is the scammer here: they or me?’

(2004) A postman becomes a forensic psychiatrist Autobiography of a skilled con man. “Whoever masters the psychiatric vocabulary can endlessly go on debiting nonsense and packing educated people with it” – according to the former postman Gert Postel, who put it into practice. Source: Skeptic Magazine

No scientific basis for selective prosecution

A large study by the University of Oxford into the link between the diagnosis of schizophrenia and criminal behavior among 96,000 people has shown that the risk of violent crime is barely 1.2 times higher compared to the ‘regular’ population. That means that there is no scientific basis for selective prosecution of people on the basis of a psychiatric diagnosis. The risk of crime is almost the same for ‘ordinary’ people.

(2009) Small risk of violence in schizophrenia unless drugs and alcohol are involved Many people associate schizophrenia and violent crime, but it is minimal unless there are also drug or alcohol problems, a large-scale study led by Oxford University has shown. Source: University of Oxford

A large FBI study has shown that most perpetrators of mass shootings have no mental health problems.

(2021) FBI Study: Most Mass Shooters Are Not Mentally Ill Prominent FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole says that most people with mental health problems are nonviolent, and furthermore, that mass shootings require planning and foresight. Perpetrators, she said, "need to think with a degree of clarity." My experience is that these are individuals. are those that, if there is a mental health problem, can still function very strategically, and in a very cold-blooded and heartless way. Mental health is not the problem. Sources: WebMD | Voice of America

Philosophical contemplation of the tbs measure

Determinism (the belief that there is no free will) lays at the root of psychiatry and eugenic practices such as butterflyGMO and a consequence of the belief in determinism is the abolition of the retributive justice system, which is to be replaced by psychiatry.

Rejecting retributive justice

Rejecting Retributivism: Free Will, Punishment, and Criminal Justice

By far the most unsettling implication of the case against free will, for most who encounter it, is what it seems to say about morality: that nobody, ever, truly deserves reward or punishment for what they do, because what they do is the result of blind deterministic forces (plus maybe a little quantum randomness). “For the free will sceptic,” writes philosophy professor Gregg Caruso in his new book Just Deserts, a collection of dialogues with his fellow philosophy professor Daniel Dennett, “it is never fair to treat anyone as morally responsible.” Were we to accept the full implications of that idea, the way we treat each other – and especially the way we treat criminals – might change beyond recognition.

For Caruso, who teaches philosophy at the State University of New York, what all this means is that retributive punishment – punishing a criminal because he deserves it, rather than to protect the public, or serve as a warning to others – can’t ever be justified.

(2019) Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society: Challenging Retributive Justice Source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

What would happen when people start to believe that there is no guilt, and that people are not responsible for crime, and that criminals instead should be submitted to psychiatric care?

It will effectuate something in human interaction.

Preventive psychiatric measures are by definition about prosecuting people on the basis of vague suspicions and not on the basis of facts. It will cause people to lose the basic dignity as a human being (the presumption of innocence) before they have committed a crime, so that they will commit a crime faster.

When vague suspicion based prosecution becomes effective in society it will put some people at risk while they did not commit a crime. In a conflict situation, it is logical that the opposing party can concretize the requirement for preventive psychiatric measures by which the person affected has lost a reason to not commit a crime. The measure for a crime that he did not commit has been determined beforehand. The dignity as a human was already gone (psychiatric disorders and treatments are highly stigmatizing).

Criminal behavior is a potential, so when people come to believe that it is caused by a brain disease that they themselves cannot be blamed for, they will logically commit a crime faster.

At question: Why would one want to defend free will?

The people who make the decisions when it concerns retributive justice (legislators and people working in the criminal justice system) will have to make their decisions based on an evaluation of the validity of a belief in free will.

Why would the interest of a criminal weigh higher than for example a desire by victims for retribution, or to set an example for society with regard to good and bad behavior?

It will ultimately come down to abolishing a belief in free will.

If a law maker is provided with the idea that crime can be prevented, and when that idea is substantiated and promoted by a science-field in general, there appears to be little argumentative ability to resist a proposition to replace the retributive justice system with psychiatry.

Despite the financial interests of the legal profession (Big Law), the pharmaceutical industry + psychiatry + the idea of the ability to prevent crime may be able to gain the upper hand. There is simply much more money involved for them and they can paint a picture of a better world.

It will come down to the ability to defend free will. And if that defense is impossible (for an individual) they will likely simply put their trust in a science-field. It is a non-risk choice versus taking responsibility for defending free will. It may explain why psychiatry has been winning so easily, while from the outlook, Free Will Skepticism may appear questionable.

Denouncing a ‘belief’ in Free Will

Will people who work in the criminal justice system be able to hold on to a belief in free will? They have a much tougher time. They may not have a philosophical background and may merely be confronted with the reality of crime within the scope of their profession.

When a judge is confronted with horrific crimes on a daily basis, at some point in time it may be logical that the judge wishes for a mere chance to be able to prevent the crimes. The abolishing of a belief in free will may then seem worth the chance. A multi-trillion USD science + industry is eager to take over responsibility and control.

It seems that a mere plausible philosophical consideration may have a hard time to defend free will at the moment that a hint of a chance of prevention presents itself as a choice.

No one can blame someone who chooses to abolish a belief in free will in favor of a replacement of the retributive justice system with preventative psychiatric measures. On the contrary, holding on to a belief in free will on the basis of philosophical consideration bears a heavy responsibility.