Nearly 18 thousand people detained

On 30 September 2005, the prison population in the Netherlands totalled 17.6 thousand persons, over a thousand more than one year previously.

Introduction of cell-sharing system yields extra places

On 30 September, 17,600 people were held in Dutch prisons, a 7 percent increase on 2004 and a 48 percent increase on 1996. The increase was partly caused by expansion of the number of detention places. New detention facilities were built and in 2003, prison cells were introduced fitted up for detention of more than one person. The possibilities to serve time at home have also been expanded. On 30 September 2005, one in ten persons convicted to imprisonment were under house arrest, part of them were electronically monitored.

Number of persons held in detention, 30 September

Overwhelming majority of prisoners are men

An overwhelming majority, i.e. 93.5 percent of the prison population on the reference date 30 September 2005 consisted of men. Over one third of all prisoners were aged between 25 and 35. Nearly one quarter were under 25 and only 3 percent were over-55s.

Age distribution of people held in detention, 30 September 2005

One third are remand prisoners

Nearly half of detainees (7,800 men and 500 women) were persons sentenced by a judge to imprisonment or detention. One third were in detention on remand. The rest were aliens awaiting deportation and people held in anticipation of compulsory psychiatric treatment.

Many men convicted for violent crimes

Nearly 40 of men sentenced to imprisonment were found guilty of committing violent crimes. The rate was nearly twice as high as for women. On the other hand, the share of women sentenced for possession of drugs was evidently higher (37 percent) than the men’ share for this type of crime (21 percent).

Convicts by type of crime, 30 September 2005

Share of short-term prisoners rises by one third

On 30 September 2005, there were 1.9 thousand people, nearly all of them men, who faced a termm of imprisonment of at least four years. These long-term prisoners made up 23 percent of the total number of persons convicted. This rate is the same as in 1996. The share of short-term prisoners, on the other hand, increased by one third between 1996 and 2005. Altogether, fourteen people sentenced to life imprisonment were held in Dutch prisons on 30 September 2005.

Percentage of convicts by length of imprisonment, 30 September

Marcelle van Zee and Frits Huls