More prisoners in 2019

Last year, the prison population increased again. Almost 10 thousand people were incarcerated as at 30 September 2019. This is 400 more than in the previous year. Compared to three years previously, the number was even up by over 1,100. Four out of ten prisoners with a custodial sentence were serving a term of at least 3 years. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.
The prison population has been growing again since 2017. Up until then, it declined almost every year: from slightly under 12 thousand in 2010 to 8.8 thousand in 2016.

Almost all are men

In 2019, the majority of the prison population (58 percent) were aged between 25 and 45 years; young adults (18 to 24 years) constituted 15 percent, while 26 percent were aged between 45 and 65 years. The age distribution has remained almost the same since 2016. Last year the share of 25 to 44-year-old detainees fell slightly (by 1.5 percent) while the share of older detainees (45 years and over) was slightly higher (1.9 percent). 95 percent of the offenders were male.

Prison population, 30 September
 18-24 yrs25-45 yrs45-64 yrs65 yrs and overOther/unknown

Steep decline in replacement detention

44 percent of the prison population comprised people in pre-trial detention, pending their trial in court. 39 procent were serving a court-imposed custodial sentence; the breakdown by duration of sentence has hardly changed over the past few years.

The share of persons in replacement detention or subject to coercive measures  who are usually detained for a short period of time  has fallen sharply over the past few years: from 10 percent in 2014 to 5 percent in 2019. On the other hand, the share of detainees in establishments for systematic offenders – i.e. highly active repeat offenders, detained for 1 to 2 years  rose from 4 percent in 2014 to 8 percent in 2019.

Prison population by type of detention, 30 September
Verblijfstitel2019 (%)2014 (%)
Establishment for systematic offenders7.93.9
Replacement detention/coercive measure5.29.8
Custodial sentence39.041.2
Pre-trial detention44.342.9