04 June 2009

The Dutch Imprison Few

With a population of 16.6 million, the Dutch prison population is about 12,000. With its population of 36.7 million, California should have a bit more than double the Dutch prison population. California’s actual prison population is 171,000.

The Dutch also have much more permissive drug use and prostitution laws. Crime is declining in the Netherlands.

A generation ago, Colorado had a similar incarceration rate to the Dutch. Colorado now has about a little more than a quarter of the population of the Netherlands (about 4.6 million) and almost twice as many people in prison (23,000); but Colorado has only about 2,500 people in prison in 1980 when it had 2.9 million people.

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