Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A party every weekend at Dutch prison

The relaxed regime at a prison housing some of Holland's most dangerous criminals is causing controversy. Pictures of tattooed prisoners enjoying a "social evening" and beer embarrassed the authorities which are sensitive to claims abroad that they are soft on crime. One inmate at Esserheem serving 14 years for murder said: "We have a party every weekend in our own prison bar. We can enjoy wonderful snacks, ice cream, beers, play cards or billiards and listen to music. If the weather is warm we can play tennis." Another prisoner spoke of "perfect" fresh food and said: "We can buy everything in the prison shop including sushi and sake." A senior Dutch police official who declined to be named said Esserheem was an exception, but "foreign offenders, in particular those involved in drug-related crime, will be even more inclined to appear before Dutch courts rather than be extradited to their own countries".


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