Contact with the outside world

All prisoners have the right to receive visits


At a minimum, visits last one hour and take place once a week (Article 38 of the PBW).

A visit permit is obtained by written request to the prison governor. A form is filled in by the prisoner.
Visitors are required to present identification to enter the facility.

People eligible to visit


Visits take place in a communal area equipped with long tables. Chairs are placed on each side. A low window, at hand level, separates inmates from their visitors to prevent any illicit exchanges.
Physical contact is only allowed briefly on the arrival and departure of visitors.
Further details on visiting conditions are available here (in Dutch).

Prisoners and visitors can meet without physical barriers


Prisoners are allowed to receive visits from their children or minor relatives

yes, special arrangements are provided

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. This requirement also applies to visitors under the age of 16 in Extra Secure Units (EBI).
Children’s access to the visiting rooms is subject to the same conditions as adults. Dedicated rooms are sometimes provided. These enable interaction and games to take place in an appropriate, equipped and decorated area. Physical and emotional contact is allowed.

Conjugal visits are allowed


The prison governor grants conjugal visits under the following conditions:

  • The incarceration lasts more than six months (pre-trial and convicted prisoners)

  • The visit is helpful in maintaining family ties and important for the prisoner’s reintegration

  • The visitor and the prisoner can provide evidence of a lasting relationship

  • The prosecutor views that the conjugal visit does not pose any risk to the investigation

Required conditions for conjugal visits

established relationship, no minimum duration

Conjugal visits are allowed once a month in dedicated rooms. Their duration is determined by the prison governor.

All visitors may bring in certain items provided that these have been approved in advance. The list of prohibited items is available here (in Dutch).

There is no legislation or guidance for the placement of an inmate close to his/her relatives.
Inmates are occasionally moved far from their home owing to the closure of many prisons. Family ties are affected by this.

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail


Postage costs are borne by the inmate.

Mail exchanged is subject to control


The prison governor decides on how correspondence is to be checked. Prisoners shall be informed in advance of the procedures for such checks.
The governor may restrict correspondence on the grounds of public order and security (Article 36 of the PBW).

  • The Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe facilities monitor the contents of letters sent to prisoners by the tax authorities. The prison service established this monitoring protocol after discovering that fabricated letters from the tax authorities had been used to deliver drugs to prisoners. A synthetic cannabinoid had been pulverised over papers posted to prisoners in official envelopes.

    / DVHN

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail in sealed envelopes


Prisoners are allowed to receive parcels


The contents are checked. Books and clothing are among the permitted items.

E-mail exchange is possible


Use of the Internet is prohibited. It may be authorised for rehabilitative and educational purposes. Children may send e-mails to the facility. Staff will print the e-mail and give it to the parent.

Prisoners are allowed to make external phone calls


Prisoners are allowed to make phone calls lasting 10 minutes, at least once a week.

Prisoners are allowed to call


The phones are located

  • in the exercise yards
  • in corridors

The cost of phone calls is in line with market prices


Call charges are borne by the inmate (Article 39, paragraph 1, of the PBW).
Teleo is the private telecommunications provider. Its prices are inflated.
During its visit in 2016, the CPT received numerous complaints from prisoners about the prices of calls.

Phones calls are wire tapped


Conversations may be recorded (Article 39, paragraph 1 of l).

The use of cell phones is authorised


Prisoners have access to video calls with external contacts


Some inmates, however, have access to “a tablet equipped with voice-over-IP software (like Skype)” for 30 minutes per month.1