The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service (hereinafter KDI) introduced on January 5th new measures in order to prevent the spread of the virus in prisons. These measures are in force until February 1st.
The aim is to prevent/reduce the risk for an outbreak within the correctional service, and to protect peoples` lives and health.
Current national measures and recommendations for handling Covid-19 implies that social contacts must be reduced to a minimum. This also concerns inmates, which implies that leaves and visits as a general rule will not be permitted.
The Norwegian correctional service has established a hotline where relatives and family members of inmates and persons in custody can obtain general informattion about the Norwegian Correctional Service and also about the handling of the Corona crisis.
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 open weekdays from 0900-1500.
As a general rule, visits to inmates shall be restricted as much as is possible. This applies to all prisons. It must, however, be individually assessed whether visits can be conducted. Under the current national circumstances, the reasons for allowing a visit must be extraordinary.
As a general rule, the use of leaves, escorted leaves and day release, shall be restricted to the largest extent possible in all prisons. It must, however, be individually assessed whether the leave should be granted. Under the current national circumstances, the reasons for granting a leave, must be extraordinary.
The Correctional service may, in certain cases, exclude inmates fully or partially from company with others if the following two conditions are met;
- There is a “decision pursuant to the Infection Control Act, stating that the inmate must be in isolation or in quarantine”, or that “an inmate has symptoms compatible with Covid 19.
- Exclusion is regarded as «necessary in order to prevent infection», and “exclusion is not considered to be a disproportionate measure”.
The prisons shall, to the largest extent possible, offer inmates and convicted persons compensating measures, allowing them, among others, to keep contact with their family and relatives digitally.
To the extent possible, the prisons should be flexible when it comes to telephone calls. KDI will ask the prisons to provide inmates with 20 minutes free telephone call time in the period January 05 to 18th, in addition to their regular call time.
Other (compensating) measures might include allowing inmates to work at their cells, access to games, books etc. in the cell, as well as giving them extended time in fresh air and outdoor physical exercise.