Photo: Pau Novell Aran/Shutterstock

Netherlands Running Out Of Criminals: Is “Immorality” To Blame?

Photo: Pau Novell Aran/Shutterstock
Christine Desadeleer
May 28, 2009
Apparently, drugs and sex don’t lead to more crime. Or do they?

I have to admit, when I first saw the headline, Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals, I thought it was a joke.

But apparently, a “decline in crime has led to overcapacity in the prison system.”

And to deal with the loss of jobs that will occur with the closures, some “reprieve” may come from Belgium, who apparently has too many criminals.

That got me thinking: why does one country have so few criminals it has to shut down prisons, and the country next door has so many they have to export their prisoners?

Boingboing points out in their coverage of the shut-downs that in the Netherlands, “most drugs are legal,” though a commenter who appears Dutch says this isn’t the case; only marijuana is “semi-legal.”

The blog Eideard adds:

Here we are – studying a nation perpetually castigated by Law and Order nutballs for being too soft on drug users, too free and easy on sex, having too many unions and too much personal freedom in the face of a large immigrant population and the danger of terrorism – ending up with empty beds in the prison system. What’s wrong with this picture of freedom, tolerance – absent Christian morality? Apparently, damned little.

Could it be that who we define as “criminals” throughout the world are based more on petty crimes (or taboo choices) more than anything else?

Here’s the problem with that theory: Pot and prostitution are pretty much legal in Belgium too.

And even within the Netherlands, there were some angry reactions to the news that prisons were being closed. An opposition MP, Fred Teeven, stated, “Violent crime is not going down…and we are far too willing to use community service. The Minister is wrong to close down prisons because of falling demand.”

Ok, got it:

Community Service + Falling Demand = Bad.
Believing that violent crime is Up + Keeping Prisons Open = Good.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Do you think that sex, drugs, and rock and roll lead to more crime, or are the morality police bent on keeping some people to jail? Share your thoughts below.

What did you think of this story?

More on


The 13 Dreamiest Airbnbs in the South of France

Get To Know the Real Banff, From Hot Springs and Waterfalls To Historic Town Sites

Your Cheat Sheet To Dining at Hotel Xcaret Arte, a Mexican All-Inclusive With 10 Signature Restaurants

On the Shores of Lake Como, This Villa Is the Epitome of Italian Lake Luxury

Get Epic Views of Niagara Falls From Your Bedroom Window at This Luxurious Hotel

15 Beautiful Airbnbs in Mexico City’s Trendiest Neighborhoods

This Tuscan Spa Surrounded by Vineyards and Rolling Hills Takes Relaxation To the Next Level

8 Chic Beach Resorts in Italy for a Glam Summer Getaway

This Luxurious Thailand Beach Resort Is Only $40 Per Night

11 Key West Airbnbs To Experience the Best of the Island

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.