Dutch prison population falls by eight percent

Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam (Photo: Janericloebe / Wikimedia Commons)Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam (Photo: Janericloebe / Wikimedia Commons)

The number of adults held in custody by order of Dutch courts fell in 2015 by 3,450 to 39,790. It represents a decline of nearly eight percent on the 2014 prison population, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), a reversal after two straight years of slight increases.

Still, nearly 90 percent of prisoners were men, and more than half either had a Dutch (36.4 pct.) or “Western” (17.7 pct.) ethnic heritage. Those with an ethnic background considered “non-Western” comprised of 44.5 percent, including those with Moroccan (10.8 pct.), Surinamese (9.3 pct.), Antillean and Aruban (8.3 pct.), and Turkish heritage (4.7 percent). 

The CBS broke down the crimes into four categories, of which property crimes were the most prevalent leading to 38.2 percent of all detentions. Those held for violent crimes and sexual offenses combined for 31.7 of inmates, while drug-related arrests led to 18 percent of those in custody. Another 4.5 percent were held for either vandalism or public disturbance. Details on the remaining 7.6 percent were not revealed.

The percentage of the inmate population aged between 18 to 25 also fell from 19.1 percent to 17.8 percent. However, an increase of one percent was seen among 25 to 45-year-olds moving up to 57.6 percent. Prisoners between 45 and 65 years of age ticked up 0.3 percent to 22.8 percent.

Figures released by the government statistics bureau include people who were convicted of crimes and sentenced to prison, and also people who were remanded into custody by a court before a trial was held.