The Netherlands Is Set To Close Four More Prison Due To Lack Of Crime
Officials in The Netherlands are considering closing four more prisons due to lack of prisoners.
According to DutchNews, four prisons could be due for closure as the country's crime levels hit their lowest since 1980.
In 2013 the country made the decision to close 19 of its prison because there isn't enough crime going in to justify keeping them open - last year authorities closed five more.
According to recent statistics, there are only 49 crimes reported for every 1,000 people each year; meaning that around a third of prison beds are now empty.
Speaking to the BBC in 2016, Angeline van Dijk, director of the prison service in the Netherlands, said: "Sometimes it is better for people to stay in their jobs, stay with their families and do the punishment in another way.
"We have shorter prison sentences and a decreasing crime rate here in the Netherlands so that is leading to empty cells."
One of the former prison was turned into a 40-room hotel where guests can sleep in former cells, if they're into that sort of thing, or can splash out and stay in one of the fancy suites with names such as The Judge, The Jailer and The Lawyer.
The Netherlands has experienced a drop in its crime levels since 2004 and is now one of the safest countries in Europe.
According to the Independent, the low crime is due to a combination of factors including relaxed drug laws, a heavy focus of rehabilitation rather than punishment and an electronic tag system that means people convicted can go out to work. The ankle-tagging system has been found to cut reoffending rates up by up to 50 percent compared to traditional jail time, according to one study.
But while crime being down is clearly a good thing, not everyone is happy about the plans to shut prisons, because with the closures come job losses. In 2013, the paper reports, workers protested, causing the government to 'import' some inmates from nearby Belgium and Norway to help fill the buildings.
During the closures last year, 1,300 prison workers out of 2,000 lost their jobs, with only 700 being given suitable work elsewhere within the system.
There's been no official word yet on how many jobs are at risk if the four prisons currently facing closure are axed.
Featured Image Credit: PA