Psychologist nearly strangled in Dutch prison; violence against prison staff on the rise

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A psychologist who works in the prison in Alphen aan de Rijn was nearly strangled to death by a prisoner over a week ago, the Telegraaf reports based on a source with in the penitentiary institution. People working in prisons across the Netherlands are facing an increasing amount of violence directed at them, according to figures ANP requested.

The psychologist was speaking with the prisoner when he attacked her, according to the Telegraaf. He tried to cut her with a piece of glass and then to strangle her with his bare hands. Guards managed to save the woman's life. According to the newspaper, the prisoner in question already has two extra guards assigned to him due to his aggressive behavior.

According to ANP, the number of reports about prisoners being violent to prison staff in prisons and psychological clinics increased by about 20 percent to over 2 thousand last year. In 2016 a total of 1,880 such incidents were recorded in Dutch prisons, compared to 1,600 in 2015. And in psychological institutes incidents increased from 86 in 2015 to 133 last year. ANP only got figures from two of the seven psychological institutes for criminals in the country. 

The Central Works Council for the Judicial Institutions Department calls the figures "very serious". According to the council, budget cuts over the past years means that the safety of employees can no longer be guaranteed. "This is very serious. Keep your paws off our staff", CWC chairman Rob Minkes said to NU.nl. 

The Ministry of Security and Justice confirms the increasing violence. "We also know the Central Works Council's concerns about the violence in the institutions", a spokesperson said to the newspaper. The Ministry is discussing the problems and more staff is being recruited, according to the spokesperson. 

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