The recession’s hurting all sorts of industries, it appears – the Dutch Justice Ministry has announced its intentions to close some prisons and slash 1,200 jobs, because there just aren’t enough criminals top fill the cells.
During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.
Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak announced on Tuesday that eight prisons will be closed, resulting in the loss of 1,200 jobs. Natural redundancy and other measures should prevent any forced lay-offs, the minister said.
The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry’s research department expects to continue for some time.
Apparently they’re considering importing detainees from Belgium in order to keep the jobs open… perhaps we’ll see more outsourcing of prison services in the years to come? Steal a car, see the world…
What differences in prisoner conditions might exist between countries with more incarceration than they can handle and those with space to spare? What underlying attitudes or legal frameworks are contributing to that lowering crime rate, and how might they manifest in the prison industry, if at all? [image by abardwell]
It’s also interesting to note that I’m currently sat in a country whose prison system is full to bursting and whose crime rate is allegedly spiralling, but the Netherlands is the country with the relaxed attitude to soft drugs like cannabis – isn’t that exactly the opposite of the way the legislators tell us these things should work?