Learning deprivation is found more often among detainees than among the average Dutch. Some can hardly read and write Dutch and do not meet the primary school end level. Most have not taken, let alone successfully completed, any follow-up education or vocational training. Their chances of actual participation in Dutch society and particularly in the labour market are therefore slim.
The Foreign Liaison Office of the Dutch Probation Service does its utmost to prepare for the detainees’ return to Dutch society in as early a stage as during their detention abroad. Many detainees get disappointed, alienated even, due to their detention abroad. Because of the isolation in a strange culture with its strange rules, far away from their home and family, they also get socially injured. The Dutch Probation Service tries to limit social injury as much as possible by giving them guidance. In the context of this guidance, they can submit a request for a study for the detainee to the Eabt Foundation. The special form of remote education somewhat reduces the sense of isolation, alienation and social injury and helps the detainee to focus on the future and his growth potential. It reduces learning deprivation and enhances the possibilities of reintegration in society and the labour market.
More than half of the 2,600 Dutch detainees in foreign prisons all over the world are not originally from the Netherlands. They were born and sometimes grew up in the Netherlands Antilles, Surinam, Indonesia, Morocco, Turkey, and various African and East-European and Central-European countries.
They currently all have the Dutch nationality or at least a valid residence permit. They were educated – sometimes only a couple of years – in their native country, in their native language and in their own culture. Many of these people can hardly read and write Dutch; hardly any of them have taken vocational training. As a result, they often live their lives at the margin of Dutch society. This makes them vulnerable for drug traffickers who want to use them as drug runners.
More than half of foreign detainees born in the Netherlands have not taken primary education adequately and do not meet its end level, for various reasons. Many have not taken vocational training or have not completed it with a diploma. The result: social assistance and high debt. Additionally, they face a lack of social skills, whereas they also have to cope with behavioural problems and the inability to live together with other people in a balanced way.
Education and assistance are means to realise a change for the better. By having sufficient command of the Dutch language, by obtaining basic education and training in skills, the chances of successful reintegration in society improve. The period of detention can be used to work on this. In this respect, being detained at least has a positive and future-oriented effect for both the detainee and Dutch society. An integrated former detainee who is self-supporting with income from work is no longer a concern and threat to his fellow citizens. Studies have shown that taking and completing a vocationally oriented course reduces the chance of recidivism considerably.