A migrant plays with a girl at the former prison of Westlingen in Heerhugowaard northwestern Netherlands.
Asylum seekers who spoke to The Associated Press during recent visits to the prisons had few complaints beyond gripes about the food. While they live in prisons, they are free to leave the buildings and grounds during the day and even spend some nights away.
Abdul Moeen Alhaji, a 16-year-old Syrian, is happy to call a prison cell home after initially staying in a tent in a temporary camp outside the city of Nijmegen. "I don't feel that it is a prison," he said. "What matters is that we are safe here"