Mobil Versjon

Measures concerning community sentence

The spread of the Corona virus and the vast potential for contracting it also affects persons who are serving a sentence in the community. The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service (KDI) has therefore decided to introduce necessary, temporary measures in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

New guidelines will come into force on 18. May, replasing the measures which were implemented in March. 

Group activities

Current guidelines
All group activities in connection with sentences served in the community are cancelled. The same goes for community service (unpaid work) carried out in groupform.

Guidelines from 18. May
Group activities and workgroups may be started, provided that current advice on protection against contamination – including on the size of groups – is followed and that sufficient measures against contamination are implemented. An individual assessment must be made of the risk of contamination and of the extent of protection against contamination that can be safeguarded for each participant in the group in question. If there are not enough work-places available as a consequence of closure due to the Coronavirus, the correctional service must consider establishing workgroups of its own. If the correctional service concludes that group activities or workgroups cannot be put in place, individual arrangements must be considered.

Individual conversations

Current guidelines:
Individual conversations with sentenced persons will still take place. KDI, however, recommends that communication take place using telephone or other technical means, such as Skype.

Guidelines from 18. May
Individual conversations must be held as physical meetings, providing that current advice on protection against contamination is followed and that sufficient measures are implemented. 
An individual assessment must be made of the risk of contamination and of the possibility for safeguarding protection against contamination before any physical meeting.
Physical meetings may be replaced by telecommunication as an exception when the correctional service considers this to be more suitable in the light of risk of contamination.

Specifically on meetings in the open air
As a measure of preventing contamination, individual conversations may be carried out in the open air when this is considered a satisfactory solution and deemed responsible from a security point of view. The correctional service must in such cases safeguard the privacy of the sentenced person, and perform a specific security assessment prior to the meeting, taking onto account the possible use of a personal alarm. Units will need to develop specific local routines for conversations in the open air.

Interrupting the sentence

Current guidelines 
KDI has asked probation offices to consider whether a sentence should be interrupted for a period of time in individual cases.

Guidelines from 18. May
Community sentence, unpaid work for fine defaulters and the program against intoxicated driving will as a rule be carried out. Before such a sentence is initiated, an individual assessment of the risk of and protection against contamination must be carried out. If current advice on the protection against contamination in the case at hand or in a more general perspective cannot be safeguarded, it can still be decided to postpone the sentence. In addition, a sentence may be postponed when there is no work-place available and no groups can be set up by the correctional service itself. 

Expiration of the period of execution of sentence

Current guidelines
In cases concerning community sentence, program against intoxicated driving, drug court and unpaid work for fine defaulters where a short period of the sentence remains, probation offices are requested to consider having the rest of the sentence served with limited content, instead of interrupting the sentence.

Guidelines from 18. May
Measure revoked. 

Postponing the initiation of a sentence

Current guidelines:
The probation offices will for the time being not implement new community sentences or unpaid work for fine defaulters, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Act § 459. KDI is of the opinion that the same applies to the program against intoxicated driving. There are, however, no legal grounds to suspend the execution of a sentence to the drug court program.

Guidelines from 18. May
Community sentences, unpaid work for fine defaulters and the program against intoxicated driving will as a general rule be initiated again, provided that the current advice on protection against contamination is followed and that the relevant measures are taken. Before initiating a sentence, the sentenced person must be contacted and an assessment must be made focusing on risk of contamination and suitable kind of meeting. Based on the assessment, the risk of and protection against contamination must be considered in individual cases. If current advice on the protection against contamination in the case at hand or in a more general perspective cannot be safeguarded, it may be decided to postpone initiating the sentence. The same goes for cases where there is no work-place available and no groups can be set up by the correctional service itself.

Home detention

Current guidelines 
Prisoners who have been granted home detention in accordance with the Execution of Sentences Act §§ 12, 13 and 16 shall continue to serve the sentence as before. In order to reduce the risk of spreading the Corona virus, the probation offices must make the necessary changes to the plans for the execution of a sentence. Where this is considered necessary, interruption of sentence may be decided, as long as this can be regarded as a secure measure in the case at hand.

Guidelines from 18. May
Measure continues

Release on parole with compulsory attendance

Current guidelies
Compulsory reporting for persons released from prison on license is still in force. The probation offices must ensure that such contact can be maintained by telephone or other technical means, and will not take place by physical appearance of the person in question at the probation office. If little time remains of the license period the case can be closed, provided this is considered to be a secure measure.

Guidelines from 18. May
With respect to physical reporting, the rules for individual conversations described above apply here as well.

Follow-up of persons sentenced to preventive detention, who are released on license

Current guidelines
Persons sentenced to preventive detention and released on license will continue to be followed up. The probation offices will have to assess thoroughly how each sentenced person shall be followed up individually, and how the conditions will be monitored.

Guidelines from 18. May
Measure continues

Introduction of new, temporary regulations for execution of a sentence with electronic monitoring

Current guidelines
Execution of a prison sentence by means of electronic monitoring (ankle bracelet) at the sentenced person’s domicile is regarded as a suitable measure in connection with the current Corona situation.

The operation of electronic monitoring will therefore continue. New applications will be considered and implemented, and ongoing cases will be followed up. Due to the risk of spreading the virus, however, new temporary general provisions concerning the execution of sentence will be implemented. The maximum term for serving a (part of a) prison sentence with electronic monitoring has been increased from 4 to 6 months.

Guidelines from 18. May
Measure continues

Reversed electronic monitoring in cases concerning domestic violence

Current regulations
The probation offices have to ensure that physical contact with convicted persons is reduced to a minimum. This implies that attaching and removing ankle bracelets should only be done in cases where this is considered strictly necessary, and only after having taken the necessary precautions against spreading the Corona virus.

Guidelines from 18. May
Measure continues

Review of guidelines

These guidelines which come into force on 18. May will be reviewed again 18. June.