A 58-year-old man who was an inmate in one of Norway’s high-security prisons was killed during the weekend by a fellow inmate. It was the first murder inside a Norwegian prison since 1982.
The victim, identified as Christian Alexander Borge, had been convicted of a series of sexual assaults on children. A representative for prison employees told newspaper Aftenposten that such offenders often are viewed as the lowest in the prison hierarchy, and can be subjected to bullying, harassment and violence by other inmates.
The man charged with killed Borge is serving a sentence for murder and also has been convicted of assaulting a prison guard.
“I would like to note that attacks like this are very seldom in Norway,” Marianne Vollan, director of the penal directorate, told Aftenposten. She said the murder, which was committed on Saturday in one of the prison’s common areas, was under police investigation.
Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen said he was taking the murder very seriously. “It’s important to stress that this is now a police case, and the police must be allowed to conduct their investigation of what happened,” Amundsen stated. “We can’t begin to discuss budgets and resources at this point.”
Some prison guards have tied the murder to exactly that, and complained they are short-staffed. “We’ve been cut down to the bone,” claimed prison staff representative Bjarte Engelsen Syse. “We don’t have enough people on the job.”
Others have pointed to a tougher climate inside Norwegian prisons, with guards and staff complaining of being threatened and subjected to violence themselves.