Netherlands Closing 8 Prisons Due To Plummeting Crime RatesSep 6th, 2010 | By Contributor | Category: Health Politics
The Dutch government has announced that it does not have enough prisoners to fill its prisons, and as a result is closing down 8 prisons. Currently, the Netherlands has the capacity for 14,000 prisoners, but only has 12,000 people to fill those jails. The shutting down of these prisons are being attributed to an ever decreasing crime rate in the Netherlands.
These prison statistics are starkly contrasted with the UK’s own crime rates. The Netherlands has a population of 16.6 million and a prison population of roughly 12,000, putting its percentage of prisoners as 0.07%, whereas the UK’s own prison population is nearly 94,000 (!!!) with a population of 62 million, leaving its percentage as 0.15%, just over twice that of the Netherlands.
It is estimated that a single UK prisoner costs the tax payer approximately £38,000, and it’s also estimated that an extremely large number of the UK prison population are being jailed for cannabis related crimes, though the official number is unknown. The Netherland’s lenient drug laws and it’s related drop in crime each year is almost certainly making Dutch citizens’ wallets a little less tight, and the UK government could definitely take some notes out of the Netherlands’ rule book.
These laws are a clear indication that the current drug-related legal system in most countries today is completely incorrect and could stand to see serious reform in the coming months and years. It’s not just the UK that’s having this problem but with countries like the United States, which has the highest crime rate out of any country on earth, it is estimated that as much as 40% could be in prison for small-time drug crimes which are costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. In stark contrast, the US is finding that it has to actually open MORE prisons each year while we see the Netherlands is actually being forced to close them. With incentives like Proposition 19 gaining significant traction, and other countries outside the States stating that if Proposition 19 is passed drug reform in the country would occur, a repeat of the events happening in the Netherlands could actually happen in similar smaller countries.
The reason for this would be because state-controlled distribution of marijuana at subsidized prices would cut into illegal drug activites, where huge amounts of crime occur all the way from the cartels to the streets. Violent drug dealers and similar criminals would be driven out of business by the safe, cheap, high quality dispensaries and the entire community would benefit all round from this.
For example, taxing and regulating cannabis would generate up to $1.4 billion in revenue per year for California. Similarly, $200 million of taxpayer money will be saved, due to less inmates in local jails. It is also estimated that California will generate $12-18 billion in spinoff industries such as tourism and coffee houses. The figures would be similar to what Amsterdam currently gets! All these savings could be put towards creating jobs, as it’s estimated that if Prop 19 passes, approximately 100,000 jobs will be created. Passing it would also help fight the Mexican drug cartels and stop the 6k death toll that has occurred this year as a direct result of their actions, as it is estimated that 60% of their income comes from marijuana trafficking.
There is a bad side to this action however – 1,200 prison workers will unfortunately see themselves being let go due to cutbacks.
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