Netherlands Close Eight Prisons Due To Lack Of Criminals

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As prison populations surge in the UK, with overcrowded cells and repeat offenders, the opposite is happening in the Netherlands.

The country is actually to close eight prisons because of a lack of criminals, the Dutch justice ministry has announced.

Declining crime rates in the Netherlands mean that although the country has the capacity for 14,000 prisoners, there are only 12,000 detainees, reported the nrc.nl.

The decrease is expected to continue, the ministry said, with Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak saying that natural redundancy and other measures should counter any forced lay-offs.

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A report last year on prison overcrowding said that surging populations undermined the rehabilitation of prisoners and risked increasing reoffending in the future.

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The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), which represents more than 60 organisations, called for the government to urgently limit "the unnecessary use of prison, ensuring it is reserved for serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate".

It came after Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said the rising pressure on prisons from budget cuts and increasing numbers cannot go on indefinitely.