Prison crisis, Dutch style: too few prisoners - Boston.com
AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch government is facing an unusual crisis: Prison undercrowding. There are now more guards and other prison staff than there are prisoners in the Netherlands for the first time, according to data released by the Justice Ministry on Friday. Crime rates have fallen slightly in recent years, but aren’t notably lower in the Netherlands than in neighboring countries, and many Dutch people think sentences for violent offenders are too light. In 2008, there were around 15,000 inmates, in a country of 17 million. As of March of this year, there were just 9,710 inmates remaining, compared with 9,914 guards. And the number of inmates included 650 Belgian criminals the Netherlands is housing as part of a temporary deal. In the U.S., the figure is more like one guard or staff member per five prisoners. The overall U.S. incarceration rate is more than 10 times higher.