The Norwegian government claims it has succeeded in its efforts to shorten the waiting lists of convicts needing to serve jail time. After having rented jail space in the Netherlands for the past three years, it can now give up its lease at a jail in Veenhuizen.
A total of 915 prisoners from Norway have served their sentences at the Norgerhaven Prison since 2015. News bureau NTB reported that the last prisoners were sent back to Norway from the Netherlands last month and on Friday Norway could symbolically return the key to Dutch prison authorities.
“We call this a good day, because the waiting lists to serve time in Norway are now so short that we can manage without the leasing agreement,” Thor Kleppen Sætten, a state secretary in the justice ministry, told NTB. It was initiated shortly after the Conservative and Progress parties won the national election in 2013 and made concrete efforts to secure more prison space.
Fully 730 of the inmates sent to the Netherlands were foreign nationals, while 185 were Norwegian citizens. Leasing jail space abroad opened up jail space in Norway, allowing it to be filled by other convicts and renovated as well.
The foreign jail leasing program was controversial, with the prison guards’ association claiming that it was an important principle that people convicted of a crime in Norway should serve prison time in Norway. The government accomplished its goals of jailing convicts, however, and expressed gratitude to the Dutch authorities “for the fine job they’ve done.”