Prisons in the Netherlands: The separate society

Former Bijlmerbajes prison in Amsterdam (© Wikicommons)

By the late 1980’s, the Dutch prison system came in for praise from abroad for its low prison population – 6000 prisoners for a population of nearly 15 million – low sentencing and the humane treatment of inmates and rehabilitation programmes. There was criticism as well as from prison officials and the general public beause of rising crime rates and a lack of prison cells. The make-up of the prison population has been changing: more people are serving time for drugs and sex-related crimes and white collar crimes. 

In two programmes, Martha Hawley talks to inmates, prison governors and guards, government officials, researchers, as well as independent observers.

Producer: Martha Hawley

Broadcast: October 1989