Proposal to lock up foreign convicts wins support

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An Oslo police inspector proposed earlier this week that all foreigners convicted of crimes should be held in locked facilities until they can be deported. Now she’s won broad support for the plan.

Police Inspector Hanne Kristin Rohde, who often serves as a police spokesperson in cases involving violent crime, told newspaper Dagsavisen on Tuesday that convicts due for deportation should be held in custody even after they’ve finished serving their prison terms.

The Justice Ministry and the advocacy group for asylum seekers, NOAS, think that’s a good idea. Too often, NOAS claims, foreign criminals use asylum centers as a base of activity and undermine their intention. “Asylum seekers also react negatively, because the criminals damage the institution,” Sylo Taraku of NOAS told Dagsavisen. “If the convicts can be sent out of the country relatively quickly, they should be held in locked facilities.”

The main idea is to prevent them from committing new crimes. A disproportionate amount of convicts now serving time in Norwegian jails are repeat offenders, many from Eastern Europe. Norway also is trying to push through agreements with countries like Lithuania and Latvia to immediately repatriate their citizens who are convicted of crimes in Norway, and have them serve their prison terms at home. That would relieve capacity pressure on Norwegian jails and allow convicts to serve their time in their homeland.

The problem is that many convicts would rather stay in Norwegian prisons, where conditions are much better than in their homelands, and new laws are needed to ease deportation.

Views and News staff