Prison population up slighty

On average Dutch prisons and detention centres housed some 11,800 people every day in 2000. This number has risen by 7% in the last five years. The group of immigrants awaiting deportation has increased relatively most in this period. Total cell capacity increased by about 3% from 1996 to 2000. In 2000 some 12,300 cell were available.

As most detainees spend less than a year behind bars, the number of people who have spent time in a prison or house of detention is much larger than the average number per day.

In the course of 2000 a total of just over 43,000 spent some time in a penitentiary, 40,000 men and 3,000 women. In the last five years the total number of male detainees has risen by 8%, while the number of women has doubled in the same period. However, 95% of detainees are still men.

Detainees (people detained in the course of the year)

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One in three men detained in 2000 was suspected or had been convicted of a violent crime. One third of the women were detained for drug offences. Sentences of four years or more were mostly given to violent offenders, but also for public order offences involving violence.

The share of detainees born in the Netherlands has fallen by 3% to 45% in the last five years. Nearly 60% of all detainees had a European nationality in 2000. Detainees who were not born in the Netherlands mostly came from Suriname, Morocco, Turkey, Algeria, the Netherlands Antilles/Aruba or former Yugoslavia.

Masja van Bommel