Four prisoners found dead in Zaanstad prison last month
Those in the Netherlands in life threatening danger should immediately dial 112 for emergencies, and anyone suffering from depression or contemplating suicide can call 113 Zelfmoordpreventie at any time by dialing either 113 or 0800-0113, or by visiting 113.nl.
Four prisoners were found dead in the Zaanstad Judicial Complex last month. Three men took their own lives, and a woman died of natural causes, insiders told NH Nieuws. The four people died in various departments within the Netherland’s largest prison in Westzaan, director Obe Veldman confirmed to the newspaper.
“This cuts into us. It is serious for the relatives, those involved, and the staff,” Veldman said. He wouldn’t comment on the dates or circumstances of the deaths.
Sources within the prison told NH Nieuws that prison staff discovered the most recent body on Sunday, May 28. “He was brought in on Friday and was in the revenue department. His file said he was suicidal,” the source said. The “older man” was suspected of wanting to kill his partner. “What we understand is that when he was arrested, a suicide note was also found. Normally, someone with such an indication would go to a cell with constant camera surveillance until a conversation had been held with a psychologist. That didn’t happen.” An employee found the man dead in his cell two days later.
Employees discovered the body of another prisoner who took his own life in the Noord department - the detention center for suspects who still need to be arraigned and people needing care. The other two people died in the psychiatric ward. A man took his own life in “mid-May,” and a woman allegedly died of natural causes a week later, according to NH Nieuws.
When someone takes their own life in prison, the police, medical examiner, and calamity investigation committee all investigate, Veldman said. Every suicide is also reported to the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate. “We always look: what is going on, what was the situation like, who observed.”
According to him, four incidents “in such a short time frame” have impacted his staff. “They’re shaken. Especially the people who discovered them. That is why there is an aftercare team. Even if it was in different departments. Everyone who works for us knows that this can happen, but it is extremely unpleasant.”