Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 30, 2009

Demand Deflation: Prison Cells For Rent

While California is releasing detainees from overcrowded prisons for lack of tax income, the Dutch have a quite different problem.

Not enough people commit crimes in the Netherlands and the demand for prison cells is down.

[M]easures must be taken to reduce the existing surplus of cells.

The Netherlands currently has capacity for 14,000 detainees but only 12,000 are needed. That number is expected to sink further.

Now group cells will be turned into single cells and prisoners will be placed as near as possible to their own region. Eight prisons will be closed or will sharply reduce their capacity.

Some prison guards will likely lose their job. The government tried its best to avoid that. According to rumors it considered the introduction of a "three strikes law" and to ask the European Union to criminalize the use of tobacco products.

But finally a better solution was found. Empty cells in the Netherlands will now be rented out to Belgium:

The Netherlands would get 30 million euros in the deal, and it will allow the closing of the prisons in Rotterdam and Veenhuizen to be postponed until 2012.

Posted by b on May 30, 2009 at 16:54 UTC | Permalink


Club-Ned ??

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 30 2009 17:32 utc | 1

That's what happens when you decriminalize bullshit crimes like possession of controlled substances. If recreational drugs were legalized here in the US and taxed, it would not only save money on overcrowding of prisons but would generate revenue for tax-hungry politicians. Of course a lot of cops might lose their jobs, along with scumbag prison guards, but they are hated throughout the world for a reason anyway. This makes way too much sense to ever be implemented here, though.

Posted by: Jim T. | May 30 2009 20:43 utc | 2

The California Prison system is the third largest penal system in the country, costing $5.7 billion dollars a year and housing over 161,000 inmates. Since 1980 the number of California prisons has tripled and the number of inmates has jumped significantly. In the past few years controversies involving prison expansion, sky-rocketing costs, and claims of mismanagement and inmate abuse have put the California prison system under heightened public scrutiny.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) is the California prison guards' union. In recent years the CCPOA has become a major player in California politics. Its political influence has grown to the point that it is widely considered to be one of the most powerful political forces in Sacramento. Its lobbying efforts and campaign contributions have greatly facilitated the passage of legislation favorable to union members, such as 'three strikes'.

The CCPOA made news during the winter and spring of 2005 for joining with legislators and victims rights organizations in opposing Gov. Schwarzenegger's prison reform proposals. In part, CCPOA resistance against the governor is rooted in union resentment of his new "rehabilitation" agenda towards reforming the California prison system. Schwarzenegger advocates a less punitive approach in dealing with prisoners, one that would re-orient parolees and ex-convicts into society. His stance is a contrast to the last 20 years of state government leadership on prisons. During the 1980's and 90's, the CCPOA and other prison advocates pushed California elected officials to focus on imprisonment and punishment rather than the idea that convicts can be rehabilitated into society. The union has traditionally supported tough anti-crime initiatives such as Proposition 184 [three strikes] and pushed California governors Pete Wilson and Gray Davis to maintain hard-line attitudes towards California corrections.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 30 2009 21:50 utc | 3

The primary function of prison is that of social control.

Prison Labor, Slavery & Capitalism In Historical Perspective

Newman's Summation

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 31 2009 0:26 utc | 5

Jim T 2) You're joking, or you don't understand the American abuse of 'government':

Contractors vie for 'plum work': Hacking for Defense USA™
Young talent flocks to companies that seek $100Bs in new tax spending
updated 1:27 p.m. PT, Sat., May 30, 2009

MELBOURNE, Fla. - The government’s urgent push into cyberwarfare has set off a rush among the biggest military companies for billions of dollars in new defense contracts.

The exotic nature of the work, coupled with the deep recession, is enabling the companies to attract top young talent that once would have gone to Silicon Valley. And the race to develop weapons that defend against, or initiate, computer attacks has given rise to thousands of “hacker soldiers” within the Pentagon who can blend the new capabilities into the nation’s war planning.

Nearly all of the largest military companies — including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon — have major cyber contracts with the military and intelligence agencies. There are dangerous bogeymen under every rock!!


And because counter-terrorism requires constant system testing, they will actually be using our life savings to hire cyber-spy's to hack into our systems on a constant basis, and whenever Defense funding expansion starts to dry up in Congress, hire more cyber-spy's to hack Congress and hack the Kettering-Sloane Cancer Foundation, to put a real scare into the American people.

The most perfect of profit-centers! An invisible enemy, undetectable friend or foeor friend-foe, and total control of international cyber space.

Posted by: Pierre Trudeau | May 31 2009 1:12 utc | 6

The lowest incarceration rates in Europe are in Sweden and Switzerland, about 75 p. 100,000. (US: 760, India: 33. from wiki.) This year, the no. of prisoners in CH fell, despite a growing population. The cost of a Swiss prisoner is staggering: more than 400CHF a day. The lock up part (infrastructure, guards, perimeter, searches, procedures, paper work, movement accompaniment and control, etc.) accounts for about a third.

The new penal law voted in last year has turned many prison sentences into fines, adjusted to income (i.e. many ppl pay nothing as they are broke to begin with) and to community service, probation with follow up, etc. Last week, Geneva got rid of its popular jury - too punitive, too unreliable. The lawyers were in shock!

Sarkozy is of course doing everything he can to lock more ppl up. He has gone so far as to set quotas for arrests ! Of course the quotas are unbearably high...He is insane. The French judicial system is in a complete shambles. Absolutely and totally f*d. In every way. It is terrifying.

Posted by: Tangerine | May 31 2009 8:52 utc | 7

Pierre Trudeau didn't you read my comment?

This makes way too much sense to ever be implemented here, though.

I'm just quietly waiting for the revolution...

Posted by: Jim T. | May 31 2009 12:45 utc | 8

A quick google did not provide, but the Netherlands is amongst the countries with a very high institutionalization rate. It is no. 1. -?- with approx. climbing up to 200 (p 100 000) in psychiatric hospitals. That is really a lot, about double the EU average...

Many studies have been done on these various rates and one tentative conclusion has been that when studying social control and crime/deviant behavior, one should use an aggregate institutionalization rate. What counts in an inst. rate is of course tricky - remand home for delinquent teens, yes, old ppl home for ‘younger’ old ppl who are very troublesome? ...

While looking I did see, for California, 2008, per 100 000: incarceration rate for Americans (native born): 813, for immigrants (foreign born): 297

in prison, jails, halfway houses, etc. (probation not included): American men aged 18-40: 4,200

Being ‘incarcerated’ or ‘in prison’ in the US has (as usual, and for public consumption) a quaint definition: those counted as prisoners are felons convicted of a prison term of more than one year, and at time of counting in a state or federal prison. All the other ppl who are locked up by the penal system are not tallied. It is even possible that felons who are temporarily absent from their base prison are subtracted (e.g. in a detention center next to the court house, etc.)

Wiki: “Approximately one in every 18 men in the United States is behind bars or being monitored.”>link

Posted by: Tangerine | May 31 2009 15:06 utc | 9

Thanks for the numbers and explanation Tangerine - interesting how the statistic get massaged

Posted by: b | May 31 2009 16:28 utc | 10

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