Friday 13 December 2019

Dutch prison population lowest in Europe but remand figures are high

A prison corridor

Photo: Depositphotos.com

There are fewer people per head of the population in jail in the Netherlands than in any other European country, the European penal statistics agency Space said on Tuesday.

In the Netherlands there are 53 people in jail for every 100,000 of the population, less than half the European average of nearly 116.

However, a high proportion of those in Dutch jails are on remand and waiting for a verdict to be reached in their cases. In total, over 43% of Dutch prisoners have not yet been convicted, compared with one in four in Europe as a whole.

The number of people in Dutch jails fell 44% between 2006 and 2015, Space said. Its figures include illegal immigrants who are being held in secure units.

The national statistics office CBS said in December that the Dutch prison population shrank by a further 8% in 2015 and is now 20% down on 10 years ago.

Its figures do not include illegal immigrants.

The prison occupancy rate had fallen so far that jails have been closed and last year the government agreed to take in prisoners from Norway and Belgium, where there is a shortage of prison capacity.

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