Latest Issue
Special Reports
Latest Special Report

How the Dutch fixed a prisons crisis—and what Britain can learn from that

In the Netherlands, the government looked at the facts and made some characteristically pragmatic decisions—and the prison population plummeted

By Venetia Rainey   January 2018

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands opens the Judicial Complex Zaanstad (JCZ) in Westzaan, The Netherlands, Tuesday September 6, 2016. The JCZ is the largest and most modern prison in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice. Photo: Utrecht Robin/ABACA/PA Images

Back in 2006, the Netherlands was charging down the same road as Britain with the second-highest prison population rate in Europe, with 125 prisoners per 100,000 population. A decade later, the Dutch are down to Scandinavian levels, with a prisoner population rate of 69. This dramatic fall has presented the Netherlands with an unusual problem: what to do with its now…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with our newsletter, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

More From Prospect