Prison places. This is today’s card post!
This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.
Misleading and incorrect about prison places
Stein Lillevolden has a column on 18 November in which he argues for not building a new prison in Oslo. Regardless of what one might think about the need for a new prison in Oslo, his article contains many incorrect allegations.
Lillevolden writes that Oslo prison has a prison record in the number of suicides among inmates. It is not correct to take into account that this prison has for many years been the largest prison in Norway with a large proportion of remand prisoners and foreigners, which increases the risk of suicide.
It is also not true that prison places “are always filled up when they are there”. In recent years, we have had several hundred vacant prison places because the number of prisoners has fallen by more than 900 inmates since 2016.
Last year, the average number of prisoners was 2,932. On average, 15 per cent of all available prison places were vacant. Since 2016, the number of available prison places has been reduced from over 4,000 places to 3465 last year. It is also wrong that Norway has a relatively larger proportion of prisoners than other Nordic countries.
It has Denmark. New and currently unpublished figures show 73 inmates per. 100,000 of the population in 2020, followed by Sweden with a share of 68, while Norway’s share was only 56. It takes several decades to find similarly low prison numbers in Norway.
It is therefore misleading when Lillevolden claims that the pandemic is an important reason for the decline in prison numbers.
Finally, it must be mentioned that after 2017, there are more people serving sentences in society than in prison. The use of prison sentences served in a prison has fallen sharply in recent years, and the use of sentences carried out in society continues to increase. Closer two out of three judges is currently being implemented in society.
Ragnar Kristoffersen, researcher, Kriminalomsorgens høgskole og utdanningssenter KRUS