Mobil Versjon

Measures in prisons

The development of the Corona situation has affected Norway heavily. Due to the situation, KDI introduced a number of measures in March, which affect the whole correctional service. This was seen as strictly necessary and in line with the national goal to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. 

Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service has decided that some of the measures introduced might be adjusted as of 18 May 2020. As of 20 May, inmates will, to some extent, be allowed to receive visits.

The Norwegian Correctional Service stresses that the abolishment of special measures related to the Covid-19 virus will happen gradually, and in line with national health policies.

Hotline for family members and relatives - (+47) 404 388 88

The Norwegian correctional service has established a hotline where relatives and family members of inmates and persons in custody can receive information and support during the Corona crisis.
The aim of the hotline is to inform family members and relatives of inmates about the measures which have been taken by the correctional service in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in prisons, as well as to inform on how these measures affect the inmates. Another important function is to give relatives and family members emotional support during this difficult period. 
You may be anonymous when you phone the hotline.

The hotline is not meant for general questions about Covid-19. Such questions should be referred to official national channels established by the national health authorities. 

The hotline is not meant for questions concerning individuals or specific prisons. If needed, family members and relatives will be referred to the facility in question.

The hotline is operational as of 15 April 2020, and is open weekdays from 0900-1500.  

The hotline will be in service until 17 June 2020, after which continuation of the service will be considered.

The telephone number to the hotline is (+47) 404 388 88.

Vitits to prisons

As of 20 May, inmates will, to some extent, be allowed to receive visits. From 13 March 2020, the Norwegian Correctional Service suspended all visits to Norwegian prisons. All visits to inmates were suspended until further notice. This decision was taken after the Norwegian government introduced national measures to prevent the spread of the Corona virus on 12 March 2020.

As of 20 May, visitors will have access to the prisons and visitors’ premises. Under the current circumstances, access has only been given representatives of the prosecutor’s office, police and lawyers, as well as mentors involved in the work against radicalization and violent extremism. 

The current Corona-situation indicates that it is still not possible to offer an ordinary regime for visits in Norwegian prisons, as prescribed by law (The Law on Execution of Sentence § 31).

The correctional service aims to provide for normal visits in accordance with Norwegian legislation, regulations and guidelines, unless;

  • the visit represents a special risk of spreading the virus or health risk 
  • absence of staff members because of illness makes it difficult to organize the visit

Easing of the restrictions will lead to challenges for the staff organizing visits. The challenges will vary from facility to facility (prisons). Opening up for visits presupposes that each prison has enough staff members who can ensure visits take place in line with the stipulated requirements. 

Limitations to the intake of convicted persons

Inmates who are going to serve a prison sentence for unpaid fines, will not be summoned or admitted to serve their sentence. In lower security prisons, inmates can be summoned to serve the sentence, given that the facility is able to handle the risk of spread of the Corona virus. This means that the facility has a structure where it is possible to keep inmates in quarantine until they have been tested for the Corona virus, and have had an introductory conversation.

It is now possible to increase the number of summons, and intake of inmates to high security prison, if the facility has the necessary capacity and can handle the prevention of spread of the Corona virus. 

Convicted persons who under normal circumstances would have been summoned to serve the sentence in lower security prisons, can now be summoned to serve in high security prisons (The Execution of Sentences Regulations § 4-3) 

Persons will still be placed in custody. 

New inmates are not permitted to be together with other inmates, until they have been examined, eventually tested, by the prison’s health department. 

The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service recommends that all inmates are accommodated in single bed cells. If inmates are accommodated in double cells or multiple occupancy cells, this should be abolished as soon as possible. This concerns both high security prisons, lower security prisons and halfway houses.

Leaves and day leave

Halfway houses
Leave and day leave can be granted if the convicted person has to undertake tasks regarded as strictly necessary and related to release in the near future. This might be to meet with a future employer, visit place of study or to view potential accommodation. 

In each case, an individual assessment must be made, where the risk for spreading the Corona virus, as well as prevention of spreading the virus,  is a part of the assessment.
It must be taken into consideration whether escorted leave should be used instead of leave or day leave.

Lower security prisons
For the time being, leaves or day leave will not be granted in lower security prisons. (There is, however, one exception in one of the departments in Trondheim prison).

High security prisons
For the time being, leaves or day leave will not be granted in prisons with high security. 

Limited use of escorted leave

As of 18 May KDI has started to allow for use of escorted leave at all security levels. This is regarded as a part of the gradual reopening after the lock-down in society in general. 

Escorted leaves can provide for rehabilitative purpose before inmates’ release. At the same time, the prison can assure that necessary measures in order to prevent the spreading of the Corona virus is ensured. This minimizes the risk of spreading the Corona virus to prisons.

Suspension of day release/temporary release (for work)

The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service has also started to ease access to day release and temporary release.

New regulations concerning electronic monitoring (EM)

The correctional service has introduced a new temporary practice for EM. A simplified procedure is introduced, which implies that physical contact between the convicted and probation service staff is reduced.

The correctional service recommends using EM as part of the sentence, as this will relieve the current situation in prisons.

The maximum term for execution of sentence with electronic monitoring has been increased from 4 to 6 months.

Electronic control measures as a precondition for release on parole from prison sentence

Inmates can be released on parole from prison, given that the inmate accepts to be under electronic control measures, such as ankle bracelet, remote alcohol test, and video conversation. Such control measures will make it possible to grant release on parole, even in cases when under other circumstances would it would not have been advisable. 

Other measures

The use of other measures will be assessed and will be implemented locally at the respective facilities – prisons and probation offices-, in cooperation with the health service.