3,550 “Antilleans” in Dutch prisons in 2013

The Daily Herald writes that a total of 3,550 persons of Dutch Caribbean descent were locked up in a Dutch prison in 2013, according to recent figures provided by the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS).

The percentage of inmates from the islands in prison in the Netherlands amounted to 8.3 per cent of the total prison population. The highest percentage of nonnative prisoners, 10.6 per cent, was of Moroccan descent, followed by the Surinamese with 9.7 per cent, or 4,140 persons. The highest number of inmates of Dutch Caribbean descent was recorded in 2005 when 4,110 persons were behind bars. In the years after that, the numbers fluctuated between 3,710 and 3,220 persons.

The CBS did not have the figures over 2014 as yet. In 2013, there were a total of 42,700 persons in prison, of which 15,660 were of Dutch native descent and 26,810 of non-native descent. The number of prisoners has steadily declined over the last eight years. In 2005, Dutch prisons counted 50,650 inmates.

While the percentage of native prisoners went down from 40 per cent to 36.7 per cent in recent years, the percentage of non-native inmates increased from 60 to 62.8 per cent. The share of prisoners of Dutch Caribbean descent showed a slow increase since 2007 when the percentage stood at 7.1 per cent. The percentage of Moroccans remained more or less steady over the years, while the share of Surinamese inmates showed a small decline.

Persons with Dutch Caribbean, Surinamese and Moroccan descent are part of the largest group of nonnative prisoners, the so-called non-western foreigners. The group of non-western foreigners makes up 19,010 or 44.5 per cent of the Dutch prison population. Considered non-western foreigners are persons originating from Africa, South America and a number of Asian countries.

Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Joram van Klaveren and Louis Bontes of the Group Bontes/Van Klaveren were alarmed by the CBS figures. They were especially concerned that almost two thirds of the prison population was of foreign descent. Van Klaveren and Bontes submitted written questions to State Secretary of Safety and Justice Fred Teeven on Friday to ask why 62.8 per cent of the inmates were of foreign descent. They also wanted to know why specifically persons of Dutch Caribbean and Moroccan descent were overrepresented in crime statistics, especially where it came to violent crimes.

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