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Dutch Get Creative to Solve a Prison Problem: Too Many Empty Cells
by Dan Bilefsky

The New York Times    Translate This Article
12 February 2017

On 12 February 2017 The New York Times reported: The Netherlands has a problem many countries can only dream of: a shortage of prison inmates. While countries like Belgium, Britain, Haiti, Italy, the United States and Venezuela have grappled with prison overcrowding, the Netherlands has such a surplus of unused cells that it has rented some of its prisons to Belgium and Norway. It has also turned about a dozen former prisons into centers for asylum seekers. About a third of Dutch prison cells sit empty, according to the Ministry of Justice. Criminologists attribute the situation to a spectacular fall in crime over the past two decades and an approach to law enforcement that prefers rehabilitation to incarceration. . . . Recorded crime has shrunk by about a quarter over the past nine years, according to the country's national statistics office, and that is expected to translate into a surplus of 3,000 prison cells by 2021. The government has shuttered 19 of nearly 60 prisons over the past three years. Global Good News service views this news as a sign of rising positivity in the field of government, documenting the growth of life-supporting, evolutionary trends.

At De Koepel, a former prison in Haarlem, refugees played soccer in a large interior courtyard that doubled as a soccer field. Some of the converted jails also have gymnasiums, kitchen facilities and outdoor gardens.

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