Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has won a state contract to transport Norwegian prisoners to the Netherlands, where Norway struck a deal to confine them in Dutch jails because of a shortage of jail space at home.
SAS will use one of its ordinary Boeing 737 charter jets with specially trained crew to fly 242 prisoners from Norway to the Netherlands to serve their prison sentences. The convicts will be held at the Norgerhaven prison in the small town of Veenhuizen in the northern portion of the country.
Norwegian government officials signed the controversial agreement to send prisoners to the Dutch jail in a move aimed at cutting the long lists of convicts waiting for prison space to open up at home in Norway. Around 1,300 convicts were on the list last autumn, because of the prison shortage in Norway, and there’s also an urgent need for more temporary jail space for those held in custody while awaiting trial.
State broadcaster NRK reported on Wednesday that SAS will handle the transport but SAS wouldn’t say which airports will be used. It also remains unclear what types of crimes the prisoners are serving time for, but justice ministry officials have said they mostly will be convicts with long prison sentences who are not eligible for early parole. Officials have also said they plan to send the first batch of prisoners to the Netherlands on September 1, thus opening up cell space for other convicts waiting to serve their time in Norway.