The country is actually to close eight prisons because of a lack of criminals, the Dutch justice ministry has announced.
In a decade, the number of people imprisoned every year in The Netherlands fell from 50,650 in 2005 to 37,790 in 2015. And the rate of incarceration stands at 57 prisoners per 100,000 residents, compared with 458 in the United States.
The decrease is expected to continue, the ministry said, with Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak saying that natural redundancy and other measures should counter any forced lay-offs.
The Criminal Justice Alliance, which represents more than 60 organisations, called for the government to urgently limit “the unnecessary use of prison, ensuring it is reserved for serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate”.
There are now only 38 prisons still in operation in The Netherlands, with 27 closed since 2014.
Six were sold for about 20.7 million euros ($23 million), while others have been rented out, often as centres for asylum seekers, bringing in a total of around 18 million euros