Netherlands to Close and Reform Prisons

| by Amanda Schallert
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The Netherlands plans to close 30 prisons because it is thousands of prisoners short of full capacity and wants to save money.

The prison closures come with the cutting of about 3,700 jobs in the system, according to the Global Oyster.

Crime rates in the Netherlands have dropped significantly since the 1990s when prisoners overcrowded Dutch prisons. In 2009, the Netherlands had about 12,000 detainees, but its prisons could hold up to 14,000 incarcerated people, according to MSN.

The Dutch ministry predicted crime in the Netherlands would continue its decline, and in 2009, the Netherlands considered taking 500 prisoners from Belgium’s overcrowded prisons to house them in the empty cells of the Netherlands’ Tilburg prison.

In addition to decreasing crime rates, the number of Dutch prisoners has declined because of an increase of using fines, electronic tagging and community service to punish criminals, according to Dutch News.

The prison closures were also spurred by financial motives, as they could save the Netherlands’ government hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The widespread closure of prisons this year is part of the general flood of reforms hitting the Dutch prison system under the new Dutch minister, according to UK Reuters.

Sources: UK Reuters, Global Oyster, MSN, Dutch News