Due to the staggeringly low rates of crime in the Netherlands, five Dutch prisons are going to be closed by autumn.
The announcement comes not long after the Dutch government closed 19 of their prisons in 2013. Government officials addressed the closures by saying that the tiny country simply doesn’t have the capital to maintain such large, unoccupied facilities.
Studies have indicated that the declining crime rates are because of government investments in rehabilitation programs, lighter drug laws, and the use of electronic ankle tags that allow prisoners convicted of more minor offenses to go back to work and participate in society, rather than languishing in a cell. This way, prisoners are able to be monitored without using up millions of federal tax dollars.
These measures have resulted in a staggeringly low rate of 69 incarcerations per 100,000 Dutch people, compared to the highest ranking incarceration rate of 716 per 100,000 in the United States. The only NATO countries that may have lower rates of incarceration than the Netherlands would be Denmark or Norway.
Though the prison closures will result in extensive job loss, a large percentage of the workers will be transferred to other positions within Dutch law enforcement.
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Reprint (Photo by Timothy Pearce, CC)