The Netherland government have decided to close down 19 prisons because there are no prisoners to lock in them.
According to documents obtained by The Telegraaf, the prisons are to be shut at the end of summer. While, 2000 prison officials are expected to lose their jobs, about 700 will return to other roles with the Dutch law enforcement.
The trend of closing prisons follows a steady drop in crime since 2004; in 2013 alone, 19 prisons were closed down. These problem of empty prison cells has gotten from bad to worse, that in September, 2015, 240 prisoners were transferred from Norway to Netherlands, just to keep its prisons full.
More so, The Telegraaf’s reports that, Justice Minister Ard van der Steur announced to Dutch parliament, that the cost of running and maintaining prison facilities with no prisoners in them, is tasking for a small country. However, a reduction in crime rate and lesser prison sentence, has aided this decision.
The Netherlands has been able to keep its crime rate so low through, relaxed drug laws, a focus on rehabilitation over punishment, and an electronic ankle monitoring system that allows people to re-enter the workforce.
These adds up to an unbelievably low incarceration rate: Although the Netherlands has a population of 17 million, only 11,600 people are locked up. That’s a rate of 69 incarcerations per 100,000 people.
More so, it was found that the ankle monitoring system, helped reduce crime rate by up to half compared to traditional improvement, according to a study carried out in 2008; So instead of wasting away in a jail cell, eating up federal money, convicts are given the opportunity to contribute to society, by getting a second chance.