The WODC researches all aspects of the Dutch penal system, including how many people are convicted annually in the Netherlands, the punishments they are awarded and how effective those punishments are. In recent years, research has also been conducted into escapes, hospital orders, long-term supervision and electronic house arrest.
Since 1998, the WODC has been making rough calculations of the judicial system's requirements. The estimates underpin the Ministry's annual budget. Examples include the possible number of committals to custodial institutions or the number of offenders awarded community service. There is also the WODC Recidivism Monitor, an ongoing research project that provides insight into criminal careers and the effects of custodial sentences.