Dutch Prisons

  • Samantha Booth (HM Inspectorate of Prisons, UK (samantha.booth@hmiprisons.gsi.gov.uk))

For decades the Netherlands has been a shining example for the international penitentiary world’ (p. 1). This was due to its low prison population rate and humane treatment of detainees, with a clear emphasis on rehabilitation. However, since the 1990s the prison population has quintupled. These population pressures have occurred alongside budget cuts and ‘spending less money on more prisoners is a sure recipe for regression’ (p. 295). The primary aim of this collection of essays is to explore whether Dutch prisons have lost this exemplary status or whether there are still areas of good practice that can be learnt from. It does this by exploring the reasons for the recent expansion in the prison population and discussing the treatment of detainees, as well as providing a historical account of the political and social context influencing these developments.

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