The Dutch Justice Ministry plans to shut down eight prisons and cancel new prison building programs to deal with what it calls a capacity surplus, Dutch Justice State Secretary Nebahat Albayrak said Tuesday.
The move will lead to the scrapping of 1,200 jobs and is expected to save 164 million euros (about 223 million U.S. dollars), Dutch media quoted the state secretary as saying.
"Currently, there is detention capacity of some 14,000 cell places, while according to the estimates there is a need for about12,000 cells. This overcapacity is expected to continue for some years," Albayrak said in a policy document on national prison system sent to the Dutch parliament Tuesday.
The cell surplus is caused by falling crime rate, Albayrak said.
According to the plan, three prisons will be closed this year and the rest in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands' southern neighbor Belgium, which is suffering a cell shortage, will temporarily put some of its criminals behind Dutch bars.
Albayrak said the two countries are working on a plan to place 500 Belgian detainees in Dutch prisons.