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Impressions of an Australian Visitor (From Studies on the Dutch Prison System, P 11-17, 1987, M J M Brand-Koolen, ed. -- See NCJ-110443)

NCJ Number
T Vinson; M Brouwers; M Sampiemon
Date Published
7 pages
This report on Dutch prisons and remand centers by an Australian corrections expert is based on his visits to seven prisons (two open, two semi-open, and three closed) and eight remand centers, which included interviews with the 15 managers of the institutions and 32 prison officers representative of the various types of institutions.
Prison staff manifested knowledge of and commitment to the formal objectives of imprisonment in accordance with the 1982 Ministry of Justice publication on the task and future of the penal system. This involves the maintenance of security and good order; the humane execution of the prison sentence; the provision of appropriate educational, social, creative, and treatment opportunities; and the minimization of the harmful effects of incarceration. Some physical facilities in the older prisons, however, fall short of this objective, since almost 75 percent of the cells in closed prisons remain unsewered and without running water. Some of the dormitories are shabby and overcrowded, and the isolation cells are extraordinarily austere. The quality of the observed social interactions between inmates and staff, however, are characterized by humane treatment and respect. Inmates and staff intermingle and interact with little apparent tension and facade. The prison workshops are remarkably successful in obtaining local work contracts even in a tight labor market. Prison officers are involved in reviewing the progress of individual inmates and the achievements and shortcomings of various programs.