Prison population continues to rise

25/08/2003 10:00

In 2002 there were just over 13 thousand prisoners on average in the Netherlands, 5 percent more than in 2001. In 2001 the increase in the prison population was also 5 percent on the previous year.

Number of prisoners

Number of prisoners

More than 40 percent of all prisoners were born in the Netherlands. Most of the others come from the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (1,210), Suriname (1,070) and Morocco (945). In 1995 this percentage was 50 percent.

Total number of prisoners by country of birth

Total number of prisoners by country of birth

More women in prison

An average 845 women were detained in Dutch prisons in 2002, 7 percent more than in 2001. The increase was largest in the age groups up to 19 years: sixty percent.
In the period 1995-2002 the number of female prisoners increased by 90 percent. The most common crimes among female prisoners women were offences against the Opium Act (35 percent). For men the most common offences were those involving violence (38 percent).

Offences by sex

Offences by sex

Period of detention

The average length of a custodial sentence in 2002 was two years and ten months. Jail sentences for women are on average one year shorter than those for men: one year and eleven months compared with two years and eleven months.

Long-term prisoners by period of detention

Long-term prisoners by period of detention

Some 540 convicted prisoners - 530 men and 10 women – are serving prison sentences of eight years or longer. Of these long-terms prisoners, 85 percent were jailed for violent offences and ten percent for drug offences. Fifteen prisoners are serving life sentences. Two-thirds of prisoners serving long-term sentences were born outside the Netherlands.

Marcelle van Zee and Cheng Wang