Refugee Housing: A New Life for Empty Prisons in the Netherlands

Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen has documented many of the men, women, and children displaced by unrest in the Middle East, and followed them as they made their way toward Europe. He often found himself wondering “What happens to migrants once they reach Europe?”, and heard about a program in the Netherlands where the government had started housing refugees in vacant prisons. Years of declining crime rates have left the Dutch government searching for ways to put its emptying prisons to good use, and as an influx of refugees reached the Netherlands, the former prisons have temporarily become their homes. Muheisen spent months trying to gain access to the prisons, then, once he was allowed in, he spent another 40 days visiting and photographing asylum seekers from dozens of countries inside these prisons, as they wait to find out what comes next for them.

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