WATCH: One Nation is Closing Prisons Because of Lack of Criminals

The prison populations of the United States have been surging for decades. Cells and whole prisons are overcrowded as the police continue to pack the often corporate, privately-owned caged with offenders who have harmed no one.

Victimless crimes like drug use – often possession of marijuana – or crimes where restitution would be the more logical punishment, keep the cells packed throughout the United States.

But the opposite is happening in the Netherlands.

The declining crime rates in the European nation are due to the government backing off of prosecuting victimless crimes. As a result, in recent years the nation has actually closed eight prisons due to lack of criminals, according to the Dutch justice ministry.

Their prisons have the capacity for 14,000 prisoners, but there are thousands less than that capacity currently incarcerated according to the Dutch website

Deputy justice minister Nebahat Albayrak says this decline in the prison population is expected to continue.

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) helped to prompt the closing by calling for the government of the Netherlands to limit “the unnecessary use of prison, ensuring it is reserved for serious, persistent and violent offenders for whom no alternative sanction is appropriate”.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick agreed that the prisons were unnecessary and would be a logical place for budget cuts to take place.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the United States followed their example?