Inspectorate criticizes internal safety at six Dutch prisons

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention centerPhoto: Politie

Internal security is below par in six penitentiary institutions in the Netherlands. They don't have enough well trained staff and the handling of detainees leaves much to be desired, the Justice and Security Inspectorate said in a report after inspecting the six prisons, ANP reports.

The Netherlands has 24 penitentiary institutions. The Inspectorate screened those located in Arnhem, Krimpen aan den IJssel, Nieuwersluis, Zwolle, Zaanstad and Sittard last year. Because the problems found in these six prisons may also be present in the other 18, the judicial institutions service DJI also wants them screened.

"The penitentiary institutions house more and more detainees with psychological and behavioral problems", a spokesperson for the Inspectorate said to the news wire. This group is aggressive and does not care about anything, he said. "Psychiatric problems often play a role and employees feel unsafe."

Prisoners are now allowed to move freely in the penitentiary institutions. To manage this, sufficient staff and good technology are required. Prison staff must also know how much freedom each detainee can handle. According to the Inspectorate, these requirements have not yet been met. 

In a reaction to the report, the Ministry of Justice and Security speaks of "firm conclusions of the inspectorate which we recognize and take seriously", according to ANP. "The points of attention are interrelated and mainly concern the question of whether sufficient staff is available. That is why the DJI took several measures last year to ensure staffing and thus internal security", the Ministry said. Minister Sander Dekker of Legal Protection previously said that he will have a solid personnel policy ready before the summer.