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The Netherlands Will Have to Close Prisons Because It's Running Out of Criminals

(Photo: JvL)

If you're going to have a national criminal justice problem, this is a great outcome!

The Netherlands has 13,500 prison cells. Only a third of them are occupied and the government anticipates that crime will drop 0.9% per year for the next five years. So it's decided to shut down some unused prisons. The Telegraph reports:

“More than a third of cells are not used, and the predictions are that it is going to get worse,” said Jaap Oosterveer, a spokesman for the ministry of justice. “Obviously, from a social perspective, it is better because crime is down, but if you work in jails, it is not good news.”

This is not the first attempt at a solution to the problem. Another has been importing convicts from other countries:

The Netherlands has been innovative in trying to solve its jail problem. It has “leased” spots in jail to Belgium and Norway, so around 300 Belgian criminals have been held at His Dutch Majesty’s pleasure in Tilberg prison.

Meanwhile, the country signed a new three-year deal with Norway last September, with 240 Norwegian convicts taking up residence at Norgerhaven jail in the prison village of Veenhuizen in Drenthe.

Karl Hillesland, Dutch prisons' director, told the country's broadcaster RTV Drenthe last month that there is even a “small waiting list”, partly due to the success of promotional films shown in Norway.


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Oh, the prison village of Veenhuizen in Drenthe is very beautiful :) It's a historical site; you can take a bus tour there, and it has a great prison museum! I am not surprised there's a waiting list.
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