Prisons to layoff another 700 staff for lack of criminals
Over seven hundred jobs will disappear from the prison system reveals an internal Ministry of Security and Justice memorandum, uncovered by De Telegraaf. This in addition to closing nineteen prisons in 2013, and a loss of 2000 jobs. An internal ministry memorandum of 16 May revealed that 350-400 new jobs will disappear, and 350 full-time staff will be made redundant as a result of new setbacks. While the figures remain unclear, 60 million in additional funding cuts will inevitably lead to future staff reduction. Reduction in funding of prisoners recreation including sport and library activities will also occur, and staff overtime reduced. This announcement comes after the Ministry scheduled the closure of at least 19 prisons in 2013, leading to the loss of 2000 jobs. Ministry of Security and Justice Secretary Fred Teeven states that the additional cuts are necessary due to a steady decline in the prison population over the past decade. In 2009, only 12,000 of the 14,000 available cells were in use. The decrease is expected to continue, the ministry said. Ministry officials point to changes in drug policy and new tactics against cocaine couriers from the Caribbean as the reason for the overall drop in prison sentences. Tougher checks on flights from Curaco airports have led to greater arrests at the point of departure, rather than at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. "We use a prognosis model that takes several factors into account," says justice ministry spokesman Job van de Sande. "The crime rate is one of those factors; the impact of policy changes such as our approach to drugs trafficking from the Caribbean is another." University of Tilburg researcher Ben Vollaard points to changes in sentencing policy as the reason for decline. He states that after changes to sentencing law in 2001, judges increasingly applied alternative punishments such as community service and electronic tagging for offenses carrying an effective prison sentence of up to six months. As a result, the use of community service sentences has grown considerably, from 27,115 times in 2002, to 40,601 in 2007. Opposition to the cuts has been heard from chairman of the prison works council Bert Knoops, who has described the layoffs as a ‘grand loss’.