For the first time in years, the number of people imprisoned in the Netherlands has fallen. On 3 October 2006 some 16 thousand people were being held in Dutch prisons and houses of detention. This is more than 8 percent fewer than in on 2005. The decrease is connected with the lower number of custodial sentences.
There was a steady growth of nearly 40 percent in the number of prisoners between 2000 and 2005. The rise was caused by the increase in the number of places in prisons and houses of detention, as new facilities have been constructed and the in some cases cells formerly housing one prisoner are now used for more than one (since 2003).