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NCJ Number: 220166 
Title: Road to Dystopia?: Changes in the Penal Climate of the Netherlands (From Crime and Justice in the Netherlands, P 31-71, 2007, Michael Tonry and Catrien Bijleveld, eds. -- See NCJ-220164)
Author(s): David Downes; Rene van Swaaningen
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 41
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
1427 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This overview of post-World War II Dutch penal policy notes a period of sustained reduction in imprisonment rates (1947-74), making the Netherlands one of the most humane penal systems in Europe, followed by a second period (1975 to 2007) in which the imprisonment rate increased to exceed the European average, with adverse consequences for Dutch prison regimes.
Abstract: During the first 30 years after World War II, the use of imprisonment declined in the Netherlands to the lowest level in Europe, 20-25 inmates per 100,000 population during the early 1970s. This coincided with the general liberalization of Dutch social policy and the influence of academics and policymakers who believed in minimalist and humane prison policies. During the final decade of this period (1975-85), however, the seeds of change can be found in government policy documents and in the beliefs of influential figures. From 1985 to the present (2007), there was a continuous shift away from the more humane penal policies of the earlier period. Factors in this change toward harsher penal policies were rising crime rates; more punitive public attitudes toward crime and criminals; the influence of key policymakers; shifts in Dutch political culture; and the emergence of managerial, actuarial, zero-tolerance, and incapacitation policies similar to those of England and the United States. The Netherlands is following much the same pattern as David Garland (2001) identifies in the United States and England in his "Culture of Control." He attributes the prime factor in increasing imprisonment rates to the growing presence of punitiveness toward violators of traditional cultural values. In the Netherlands, this attitude has replaced the more humane cultural imperative of reaching out to the disenfranchised, the outcasts, the oppressed, and the disadvantaged. 6 figures, 1 table, and 77 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Corrections policies; Foreign correctional facilities; Foreign corrections statistics; Foreign criminal justice research; History of corrections; Inmate statistics; Netherlands; Trend analysis
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