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Penalization and Retreat: The Changing Face of Dutch Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 5 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2005 Pages: 145-161
Francis Pakes
Date Published
May 2005
17 pages
This article examines criminal justice policy in the Netherlands from 1994 until 2002.
Before the labor-liberal administration came into power in 1994, the trend in the Netherlands of increased use of the prison system was already established. The biggest contributor to the increase in prison rates has been the length of sentences. However, in addition to prison expansion, both the police and the prosecution service also expanded and continued to grow. As this displays, there has been an extreme shift towards the ideas described as the New Penology. The emphasis is not on the rehabilitation of individuals but on controlling groups that constitute a risk. Lawbreakers are not seen as part of society, but rather a danger to it. This article examines whether the tolerance argued to have underpinned the Dutch reductionist penal policy has disappeared with it. It looks at the roots of that tolerance and its expression in areas in which the Netherlands traditionally employs more or less idiosyncratic systems of governance. References