Holland has one of highest prison populations

The number of people held in detention in the Netherlands has risen four-fold in the last 20 years so that it has gone from having the smallest prison population in western Europe to one of the highest, according to research published in a judicial magazine this week.

Researchers Miranda Boone of Utrecht University and Martin Moerings of Leiden University say the number of people detained in the Netherlands in 2005 was 128 per 100,000 citizens bringing it close to Britain which has the highest number (148 per 100,000 inhabitants) in western Europe.
Between 1985 and 1996 the increase in detainees in the Netherlands was largely due to a rise in court cases. But in the last decade the growth is mainly as a result of more young people and immigrants being locked up, often without being tried.
An intolerant policy towards refugees and asylum seekers has resulted in more prison sentences among this group. The number of cells for foreigners went up six-fold between 1990 and 2005 and this cannot only be because the number of immigrants has risen which is the explanation given by the government.
The researchers also point out that many young offenders are kept in detention pending treatment for behavioural problems and that the number of ‘preventive’ detentions, for example of drug addicts, have also gone up.
Boone and Moerings conclude that the ‘remarkable rise’ indicates that the Netherlands has changed from a country known for its tolerance to one that ‘solves its problems with minority groups and problem groups by locking them up’.
Around 18,000 adults and almost 4,000 young people were in detention in 2005.

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