Netherlands Is Closing Down Prisons Due To Lack Of Prisoners
While our own prisons in Nigeria overflow with inmates, the opposite is happening in Netherlands – facilities are being closed down due to lack of people to put behind bars. The main reason why this is happening is simple: crime is going down.
In 2013, 19 prisons in the Netherlands closed because the country didn’t have enough criminals to fill them. Now, five more are slated to close their doors by the end of this summer. The problem of empty jail cells has even gotten to the point where, last September, the country imported 240 prisoners from Norway just to keep the facilities full.
Somewhere along the line, the Dutch understood that prisons are not particularly good at rehabilitating people. Just like in Norway, the Netherlands focuses on rehabilitating people instead of punishing them — and this works. The Norway recidivism (the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) rates are at 20%. Compare that to the 76.6% recidivism rate in the US, and you’ll start to see why this is a good thing. Judges in the Netherlands tend to give community service instead of jail for many crimes.
The Dutch are closing prisons so fast. They don’t have a war on drugs, which helps contribute to their success. The Netherlands is famous for its tolerant drugs policy. … It is illegal to produce, possess, sell, import and export drugs. However, the government designed a drug policy with tolerates smoking cannabis under strict terms and conditions.
Sweden has also been closing down jails since 2013 for the same reasons, but also partly due to a 2011 supreme court ruling that shortened the sentences for drug offenses.
Overall, the closing down of prisons can be seen as a good thing. It would cost the government less to maintain the prison facilities while the empty facilities can be converted for other public use. However, there is the down sides which is the loss of jobs for the prison personnel.