Year

Health

Ministry in charge

Ministry of Justice

Every prison facility has a health care unit

yes

Number of medical staff (FTE)

255

i
31/01/2018
/ Council of Europe, "Space I – Report 2018", p.75.

As of 1 September 2016, there were 249 health workers.1


  1. Council of Europe,“Space I - Report 2016“, p. 131. 

Health care is free

yes

Prisoners may also consult a doctor of their choice, at their own expense (Article 42 of the PBW).

A medical examination is performed upon admission

yes

The medical examination is carried out by a team formed of authorised psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and nurses. The team assesses whether any care is needed and whether placement in the institution’s psychiatric care unit or in a specialised penitentiary facility is required.
Screening for tuberculosis is carried out on a routine basis. A chest x-ray is taken for high-risk inmates.1


  1. Eveline Thoonen, “Death in State Custody”, Maklu Uitgevers N.V, 2017, p.182. 

A medical file is opened upon admission

yes

Prior to the first medical examination, prisoners must complete a form in which they detail, for example, any medical treatment that they receive a regular basis.

Prisoners can access health care units after

a written request

Every morning, the nursing staff pre-select the inmates who will be seen by the doctor that day.

i

Medical examinations are carried out on a confidential basis

yes

Medical confidentiality is guaranteed except in cases “*of legal obligation to share medical data, of conflict of interest, of conflict of obligation or of significant interest”1.


  1. Thoonen, E., “Death in State Custody,” *Maklu Uitgevers N.V., 2017, p. 204. 

Dutch disciplinary case law ensures continuity of care throughout the period of detention.1

Specialised care is also provided. A dentist for example, is present in each facility.


  1. Thoonen, E., “Death in State custody”, Maklu Uitgevers N.V, 2017, p.225.

There is no specific data on HIV/AIDS, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis B and C or the co-infection of tuberculosis and HIV (TB-HIV). The prevalence of any given disease can therefore not be established.

In 2016, the number of arrivals tested, who were either born or who had been convicted within the last five years in a country particularly affected by tuberculosis1, was 12,222. Thirteen tested positive.


  1. more than 10 cases per 100,000 people 

  • Three prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 at Limburg prison. A total of 84 people were placed in quarantine.

    i
    07/01/2021
    / NL Times

Testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is available in all facilities. These tests are not mandatory.

Infectious diseases other than tuberculosis are not routinely screened for. Only tests for tuberculosis are regularly carried out.1.

Measures are taken to prevent communicable or epidemic diseases. Vaccination against hepatitis B is available to men who having homosexual relations.

  • Nineteen prisoners at Heerhugwaard Prison initiated legal action in January 2021 against the prison director over the ban on wearing masks in detention. Prisoners had to share workspaces but without masks. Those who opposed could be subjected to disciplinary sanctions.

    i
    07/01/2021
    / Dutch News
  • At Limburg prison, 84 prisoners were placed in quarantine from 6 January on. They were subjected to multiple restrictions; in particular, they could not shower, exercise, or receive visitors for ten days.

    i
    07/01/2021
    / NL Times
  • Nearly 1,000 inmates were quarantined for prevention purposes. Nieuwegein and Ter Appel prisons were placed under total quarantine. A few wings in Grave, Zaanstad, Roermond and Heerhugowaard prisons were quarantined.

    i
    15/01/2021
    / Dutch News
  • According to several lawyers, quarantined inmates were not allowed to take showers or wear masks. Health Minister Sander Dekker indicated that this ban was taken for safety reasons. According to the minister, prison staff must be able to see the faces of inmates to “gauge their mood”.

    i
    15/01/2021
    / Dutch News

Risk reduction measures include free access to condoms. Needle exchange programs, deemed “unnecessary”, are not offered.

The guards assigned to the dedicated units (EZVs) within prisons receive training in patient care. The CPT observes that “they work in cooperation with psychologists and social workers”. The staff/prisoner ratio here is higher than elsewhere1.

Prisoners with drug addictions, whether on remand or convicted, have access to substitution treatment. Guidelines for the prevention of drug-related deaths are issued to facilities.