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NCJ Number: 50540 Find in a Library
Title: HOW HOLLAND SUPPORTS ITS LOW INCARCERATION RATE - THE LESSONS FOR US
Author(s): ANON
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE NETHERLANDS' LOW RATE OF IMPRISONMENT ARE EXAMINED, AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES ARE DRAWN IN THE REPORT OF AN AMERICAN STUDY GROUP THAT VISITED THE NETHERLANDS.
Abstract: SEEKING AN EXPLORATION FOR THE NETHERLANDS' LOW RATE OF IMPRISONMENT (A PHENOMENON NOT ACCOUNTED FOR BY THE COUNTRY'S CRIME RATE), THE STUDY GROUP INTERVIEWED PERSONS KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, OBSERVED COURT PROCEEDINGS, AND VISITED SEVERAL PENAL INSTITUTIONS. THE GROUP FOUND THAT THE DUTCH CULTURE CONTRIBUTED THE FOLLOWING FACTORS TO THE LOW RATE OF INCARCERATION (24 PRISONERS PER 100,000 POPULATION COMPARED TO 250 IN THE UNITED STATES): A NATIONAL IDENTITY THAT STRESSES INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY, TOLERANCE, AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY; A SOCIOECONOMIC SYSTEM THAT MINIMIZES INCOME DISPARITY AND INSECURITY; THE LEGACIES OF DUTCH CHURCHES; AND A TRADITION OF MINIMIZING VIOLENCE. THE DUTCH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ITSELF CONTRIBUTES TO LOW LEVELS OF INCARCERATION THROUGH AN UNDERLYING BELIEF THAT PRISON IS A HARMFUL INSTITUTION, THE CONSEQUENT RELIANCE ON SHORT SENTENCES (AVERAGE 35 DAYS), EMPHASIS AT ALL LEVELS OF THE SYSTEM ON MINIMIZING THE INDIVIDUAL OFFENDER'S INVOLVEMENT WITH THE SYSTEM, HIGH USE OF FINES, AND A POLICY OF LIMITING THE NUMBER OF PRISON BEDS. CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE DUTCH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM INCLUDING LACK OF CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT, MATTERS OF DUE PROCESS, AND POTENTIAL PROBLEMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ARE QUESTIONED. THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS URGED TO CONSIDER THE NETHERLANDS' EXPERIENCE WITH SHORTER SENTENCES AND THEIR FIRM BELIEF THAT PRISONS SHOULD BE USED ONLY AS A LAST RESORT. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT THE DUTCH HAVE MAINTAINED A LOW RATE OF INCARCERATION NOT THROUGH SOPHISTICATED, EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVES OR DIVERSIONARY PROGRAMS, BUT SIMPLY BY PRACTICING THEIR PHILOSOPHY THAT INCARCERATION HAS NO SALUTARY EFFECT ON THE OFFENDER. SUPPORTING MATERIALS ARE APPENDED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Incarceration; Netherlands
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50540

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