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HomeCrime and JusticeSweden Plans to Rent Prisons Abroad As Domestic Capacities Fill Up

Sweden Plans to Rent Prisons Abroad As Domestic Capacities Fill Up

Sweden Considers Renting Prisons Abroad

Sweden is looking into the possibility of renting prison places in foreign countries, as the local correctional facilities are hitting maximum capacity. The government will launch an investigation next year to determine which countries and types of prisoners could be part of this proposal. This initiative is part of a pact made between the ruling parties and the Sweden Democrats, known as the Tidö pact.

Exploring the Possibility

The need for additional prison places arises from the growing number of inmates and the expectation that this trend will continue over the forthcoming years. So the government will establish a taskforce to investigate how feasible it would be to rent prison cells in other countries, especially in Sweden’s immediate vicinity.

“It gives a picture of what it’s about – either Nordic or other European countries,” says Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer.

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The taskforce will also examine which types of prisoners could be included in this proposal. Notably, long-term convicts and those who are to be deported after their sentence might be prime candidates for this arrangement.

A Debate on Cost

The cost of renting prison cells will be another focal point of the investigation. Norway had a similar arrangement where they rented prison cells in the Netherlands, but it led to a debate on the high costs. Norway has since discontinued the agreement.

The taskforce will present its findings by December 16 of next year.

“Our shared ambition is to realize this during this term of office,” says Gunnar Strömmer.

Introducing Safety Zones

In other news, the government also presented an investigation about “search zones”, which Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer hopes will be in place by next Spring.

This initiative gives police the ability to establish these zones when there is imminent risk of shootings or blasts in an area tied to gang conflicts. The zones would generally be in effect for two weeks with a provision for extension.

Inspector Karin Erlingsson from the Customs Service considers these zones as “Safety Zones”.

Beyond body searches, these zones will also require vehicles to be inspected. The inspector also suggests that children should be searched. She believes this measure will help combat gang violence, but acknowledges it may increase the risk of personal privacy infringement and discrimination.

Balancing Crime Control and Civil Liberties

Gunnar Strömmer asserts that the government has adequately addressed concerns over civil liberties and points out that the documentation requirements will actually be stronger with the new zones.

“The government has been inspired by the Danish system. It’s about designing a Swedish model. I perceive that the investigation has done this. The measure aims to cool down conflicts and prevent retaliatory actions and spirals of violence,” he says. The government hopes to have the law in place by March next year.

Did you know?

– Denmark, Finland, and Norway allow anonymous witnesses during trials.
– The government has proposed doubling the minimum sentence for gang-related crimes.
– A ban on presence allows people to be prohibited from being in a specific area, like a square, schoolyard, or city section.

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