Got any spare criminals?

Then send them to the Netherlands.

No, I haven’t gone mad, or developed a sudden dislike of the Dutch.  This is actually a brief article in a recent edition of the ‘i’ newspaper, which explains that falling crime rates in the country have led to a problem with unemployment for prison officers and other related staff.  As the article explains, “…they have come up with an innovative solution… justice officials from the Netherlands and Norway met… and signed a deal: the Dutch will provide the cells if the Norwegians provide the inmates.”

Pretty eye-blinking stuff, really, but this wasn’t even published on April Fools Day and appears to be quite serious, and quite genuine.  About 250 convicts from Norway will be transported to the Netherlands to serve out their sentences at Norgerhaven prison, which will safeguard the jobs of around 240 Dutch people.

There’s no mention of any language barriers or arrangements for visiting family and friends, and it does raise a few spectres of the mass transportation of criminals that went on from Britain to Australia in the 19th century.  But I guess if you’ve got the spare capacity you might as well use it…


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