A local court has ruled that the public must be protected from a violent 15-year-old girl who murdered the woman who was taking care of her at a juvenile care facility at Vollen in Asker, west of Oslo. The girl has appealed her sentence of nine years in the special type of custody that can be extended for life.
It’s the first time a minor in Norway has been sentenced to the special form of custody known as forvaring, from which convicts can only be released if a judge is convinced that repeat offenses are unlikely. Otherwise, a new period of custody can be imposed.
The girl will be held at a special juvenile prison in Bergen, pending appeal, but the facility is meant to feel more like a home than a jail. She’ll have her own small apartment at the new prison in Bergen, which newspaper Aftenposten reported has a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom in addition to private bathroom plus a small garden.
She’ll be under round-the-clock surveillance, though, even when she’s sleeping, and officials claimed those living at the facility are aware they’re being punished because of their loss of personal freedom. Her days will begin at 8:30am and include four meals taken in her apartment with one of her guards, plus schooling, therapy and hobbies in addition to an hour each day of being confined to her room. “We don’t call them ‘cells,'” Per Omdal, lawyer and leader of the prison, told Aftenposten. Her apartment features hardwood floors (said to have a calming effect) and a television but she will be denied access to mobile phones and the Internet.
The girl had a long history of violence before brutally attacking her caregiver in Asker. She had tried to strangle others, once set fire to her father’s bed and attacked an employee of another juvenile detention facility with a machete. Psychiatrists had determined that the chances of repeat offenses was high.
There was criticism nonetheless that a minor had been sentenced to the special form of custody. One defense attorney called it “inhumane” but court-appointed psychiatrists determined she was not psychotic at the time of the attack and that there was a clear and present danger that she would attack again.