Five prisons in the Netherlands were marked for closure in 2016. That follows eight closures of in 2009 and 19 in 2014. Because there are fewer and fewer inmates to put in the cells, the Netherlands’ jails are just too costly to run. It’s not a bad problem to have, unless you’re one of the 1,900 prison workers losing their jobs.
The drop in supply of prisoners is because of two factors. One is that simply fewer crimes are being committed. Rates are falling around 0.9% per year. This means 3,000 prison cells and 300 youth detention places will not longer be needed by 2021. Former justice minister Ard van der Steur said that serious crimes are less frequent, and that judges are imposing shorter sentences for those that are convicted. Meanwhile, the U.S. enjoys the largest prison population in the world, with 2.2 million incarcerated adults as of 2013.