19 Dutch prisons closed in 2013 due to a lack of prisoners and 5 more set to be shut down over this year.
Even though this could possibly lead to the unemployment of 2000 people of which only about 700 will be relocated within the Dutch law enforcement system, the decline in Dutch prisoners could be linked to a steady drop in the serious crimes over the years.
Furthermore, the fall in the amount of prisoners in jails is also due to other reasons like judges granting lenient sentences i.e. shorter jail time, community service orders, fines and electronic tagging of offenders, their decision to choose rehabilitation over punishment and their focus in law enforcement also being shifted from drugs to more harming issues like terrorism and human trafficking.
The lack of prisoners had become so alarming in the last few years that the country resorted to getting prisoners transferred from Norway (over 1000) where there was an opposite trend occurring i.e. Not enough room for the prisoners.
The US, on the other hand, has the highest rate of incriminations in the world. It’s traced back largely to their lack of attention to social services and rehabilitation programmes. This leads to prisoners falling back to old habits due to not learning about their mistakes.
So, the US and other countries could possibly learn a few points, keeping in mind how the Netherlands literally has to import prisoners to keep their prisons functioning.