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Netherlands Helsinki Committee / Themes / Securing Rule of Law / Prison Reform and Probation

Prison Reform and Probation

Worldwide the number of people who are imprisoned is increasing. Due to the existing policies the number of prison sentences has grown as well while they mostly concern minor, non-violent offences. Imprisonment is in many cases a disproportionate response to the nature of the crime committed. Furthermore, it may also have a damaging impact on the health situation of the imprisoned. The prison climate is one of the main factors that influence the life of the prisoner. Humane prison conditions result in a better response to rehabilitation programmes and reduce violence in prisons. Therefore it is necessary that a solid foundation for successful reintegration is laid within places of detention. Time spent in detention should be geared as much as possible towards reintegration, and the prison climate should contribute to this process.

The NHC Prison Reform Programme is targeted towards capacity enhancement and strategic institutional support of several actors within the criminal justice chain. The main beneficiaries are prison management and prison staff, as well as prisoners. By organising peer to peer trainings, capacity enhancement and strategic institutional support are provided through the transfer of knowledge and skills. The final goal is to change behaviour. The programme focuses on improving the prison climate and introducing working methods to increase chances for the successful reintegration of prisoners.

In the NHC Programme  Probation and Alternative Sanctions, the NHC aims to introduce and enhance the effective use of reintegration programmes, conditional sentencing and community service. By doing so, the programme contributes to a reduction of overcrowded prisons and number of re-offenders. By organising peer to peer trainings, capacity enhancement and strategic institutional support are provided through the transfer of knowledge and skills. The aim of all this is to change behaviour.

Current projects

Finished Projects