Seven percent more prisoners

Nearly 14 thousand people were being detained in Dutch prisons on 30 September 2003, 7 percent more than twelve months previously.

Number of prisoners

Number of prisoners

The number of women in prison - 840 – was about the same as one year before. The number of men rose by nearly one thousand to 13 thousand in 2003.

Country of birth

The number of male prisoners born in the Netherlands increased sharply: by 11.7 percent from 5.6 thousand in 2002 to 6.2 thousand in 2003.

Nearly 45 percent of prisoners in the Netherlands were born in the Netherlands. In 1995 this was still half of all prisoners. Some 9 percent of prisoners were born in Suriname and another 9 percent in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba; 7 percent were born in Morocco and 5 percent in Turkey.

Prisoners by country of birth

Prisoners by country of birth

Nature of detention

The prison population consisted mainly of people on remand (5,995) and those sentenced by a judge to serve a prison sentence (6,085).

The remaining prisoners were people in custody, foreigners awaiting deportation and people held under a hospital order until they can be placed in a psychiatric unit.

Prisoners by nature of detention, 2003

Prisoners by nature of detention, 2003

Long-term sentences

On 30 September 2003 nearly 1.6 thousand prisoners were serving a sentence of four years or more. This proportion rose by 13 percent in the space of one year. Only 4 percent of prisoners serving long-term sentences were women. Nearly 70 percent were in prison because of violent crimes. About a quarter were serving a long-term sentence for drug offences.

Nearly 16 percent of long-term prisoners were younger than 25 years. Twenty prisoners - all men - were serving a life sentence.

Short sentences

Nearly 1.6 thousand people in prison on 30 September 2003 were serving a sentence of less than six months. Ten percent of these were women. Just over half of prisoners serving short sentences had been convicted of crimes against property, about 10 percent were in for drug offences.

Marcelle van Zee en Cheng Wang

Source: StatLine (Dutch only)