Just visiting

Dutch prison week

Weekly one hour visits

The inmate has a right to receive visitors for at least one hour per week at the times and places determined in the prison rules. Pre-trial detainees, however, who are detained under restrictions set by the examining judge, do not have this right unless the public prosecutor or examining judge issues directions to the prison governor to allow the pre-trial detainees to receive a visitor. 

Those who wish to visit an inmate must obtain prior permission by telephone or in writing. Visitors may be refused in the interest of maintaining order and safety of the penitentiary establishment, the protection of public order and national security, the prevention of criminal offences or the protection of victims of a crime. The governor may limit the number of visitors simultaneously admitted to the detainee if it is in the interest of maintaining order or safety of the penitentiary establishment. The visit takes place in visiting rooms supervised by prison wardens. 


Not like American television

In visiting rooms, as a rule, other prisoners receiving their visitors are present as well. Individual visits, however, may be granted by the prison governor. The conversation between the inmate and his visitor may be overheard or intercepted, provided that the prison governor informs the inmate prior to the visit that this may happen. As a rule, there is no glass or plastic screen between the inmate and his visitor. The governor, however, may decide that such a screen will be placed and that communication must take place through intercom. 


Visitors must wear an identity card and their clothing may, prior to the visit, be examined for the presence of objects that may be a risk to order or safety in the institution. The examination may also concern objects brought by the visitor. The governor has the authority to, and almost alwayways does, confiscate objects for the duration of the visit. The visitor must pass a detection gate. Visitors may not hand over anything to the inmate. 

Before and after visiting hours, the inmates’ clothing may be searched or the inmate may be ordered to undergo a bodily examination. Lawyers may visit their clients without time restrictions. Lawyers must identify themselves and pass a detection gate. Their belongings may be examined. 

Non-supervised visit


Prisoners serving a long-term prison sentence may be granted the right to receive a so-called non-supervised visit. These visits may be used for sexual relations. The request for non-supervised visits by pre-trial detainees, however, will be granted only in very, very exceptional circumstances. A long stay in pre-trial detention and deterioration of the relationship with the prisoner’s partner are not seen as sufficient reasons for granting a non-supervised visit.
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