Prisons In The Netherlands Are Closing

Prisons in the Netherlands are closing down because there’s actually no one to keep there, and it’s pretty darn amazing. We could all learn a thing or two from the Dutch, and also surely wouldn’t mind closing down a few prisons. On top of the significant decrease of the crime rate in the country (kudos to that too), there’s something else that can be accredited to the ability to empty out prisons, and that’s the fact that they’ve been treating prisoners like real human beings.  Clearly, that’s worked out better than anyone could ever have possibly imagined, with an impressive 4 prisons that closed down in 2018 alone! Many of them have in fact turned into homes for refugees. 

The Dutch detention system believed that if they treat their prisoners like human beings, then they will inevitably behave accordingly – as human beings! Those with mental illnesses have been offered special rehabilitation treatments, and the system has put most of its focus and emphasis on understanding the issues and teaching prevention practices, rather than simply enforcing punishment for those who have broken the law.   Simply reducing long jail sentences was found to not be effective, but what really was found to help was to pay fines or take part in rehabilitation programs, sometimes both. 

These new approaches are known as alternative sentences and have been put in place based on the idea that once again, treating criminals like humans is what’s best for society overall, as well as for the person themselves. If you treat people like dogs, they will behave like dogs. And the same goes for being a human being and doing the right, humane thing. In the Netherlands, people in prison are often given intervention programs and guided therapy in order to ease themselves back into society – both protecting the public, and also providing the prisoners with the tools they need to get back on their feet.