Prisons in Norway Do not Scare Foreign Criminals

Norwegian liberal prison system has attracted international attention many times. The Guardian described Norway as a country treating its inmates like people. Policymic named the result of this humane treatment as a system America can only dream of.


What the British and American media is so attracted is the high standards in the Norwegian prisons. There are prison cells having televisions, computers, showers and toilets. Prisoners have access to a variety of classes in general education and specific skill-training, gym and cultural activities. In some prisons, there are teaching kitchen and freestanding house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits.


There is no death penalty and the maximum sentence is 21 years, meaning that every prisoner will someday be released.


Also foreign criminals who do not have legal residence in Norway have the same rights including full medical care and eligibility for grants from Norwegian Welfare Service (NAV).


In another word, all the system has been designed to ensure that inmates will thrive and go back to a law-abiding life as good as possible.


But many foreigners serving their sentences in Norway has no future in this country. It is a fact that many foreign criminals are doing everything not to be extradited to their home countries, writes TV2


Recent figures TV2 has received show that the proportion of foreign criminals has increased from 8.6% in 2000 to 34.2% in the end of May this year.


Several defense lawyers tell their clients almost laugh at penalties and plainly state that they take a stay in Norwegian prisons as a calculated risk.


– A big problem is that those who are expelled for crimes come back and commit new crimes. This is the development that goes wrong way from a Norwegian perspective, we get more and more foreigners in Norway without legal residence, and who commit crime, says police lawyer Arne Fjellstad from immigration section at Hordaland police district.

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