• Sweden edition

Pricey maximum security prisons remain half-full

Published: 26 Aug 2012 12:41 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Aug 2012 12:41 GMT+02:00

In 2011, only 43 percent of the prisons’ security units were in use, according to national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR).

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service says that this is intentional and that they strategically avoid filling the units, as prisoners are often dangerous and cannot be placed together.

“We’ve said that roughly 50 percent is normal for these kinds of sections,” said Christer Isaksson, the service’s head of security, to SR.

“Many of the prisoners have strong personalities and cannot be placed together just any which way, because of the conflicts or destructive constellations that might form."

But Sweden’s minister for justice Beatrice Ask is concerned that the costs are too high.

“Our concern is naturally that the costs are very high. But I think it’s important to say this: we cannot question the need for secure units in Swedish prisons. We have serious crime, and people who constitute a danger, both to themselves and others,” said Beatrice Ask to SR.

The three security units were built following four spectacular escapes from Swedish prisons in 2004, and they cost 750 million kronor to build.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

03:03 August 27, 2012 by GLO
Get the Hanging Rope out. Close two Prisons. Start putting Violent Killers, Rape and Robbery criminals out. Touch a child, lights out....
05:10 August 27, 2012 by jimfromcanada
Count yourselves lucky that your maximun security prisons are not full. It means that the rehabilitation of offenders is working.
07:37 August 27, 2012 by isenhand
I wouldn't worry. The current governments policies should increase the crime rate. I'm sure we will fill the prisons.
09:04 August 27, 2012 by karex
#2 The situation masks reality. The prisons are not full because criminals are sent for a holiday stay in a mental hospital instead, thereby taking up room of patients who are really sick and actually do need the treatment and care. This and the laws are very lax and many people get away with murder instead of receiving a proper prison sentence.

The solution is easy: update the outdated laws to reflect the seriousness of the crimes with equivalent sentences, and send the criminals currently on holiday in the mental hospitals to prison where they belong.
09:55 August 27, 2012 by procrustes
Maybe they're not full because Swedish culture/society/government doesn't generate many hate-filled people such as frequent non-Swedish commenters in this blog.
12:59 August 28, 2012 by DAVID T
I have a friend who got sent to Prison for tax evasion - There was no room in the open prisons so they sent him to one of these high security prisons for a month - He was the only Swede in the whole prison
11:24 August 29, 2012 by John.Smith
Huh? I thought people would be happy that prisons are only half full??
Today's headlines
Stockholm Pride climax set to be 'hot and humid'
Stockholm Pride 2013. File photo: TT

Stockholm Pride climax set to be 'hot and humid'

The weekend is set to offer up hot and humid weather with a chance of thunderstorms as Stockholm Pride gets ready to wind its festive path through the city's streets. READ  

Swedish police chase German ambulance
A German ambulance. File photo: TT

Swedish police chase German ambulance

Swedish police took up the chase after a German registered ambulance late Friday night after reports that it had been racing around the forests in Småland with its siren on and lights flashing. READ  

'The concept of race is a slippery slope': Ullenhag
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

'The concept of race is a slippery slope': Ullenhag

Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag tells The Local why he plans to remove the term "race" from all Swedish law, how he responds to his critics, and why Sweden must steer clear of xenophobia. READ  

Sweden's tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Sweden's tourism figures on the rise for 2014

Tourism in Sweden is on the rise, with the first half of 2014 seeing a boom in visiting figures for both domestic and foreign tourists. READ  

Northern Dispatches
How I tackled northern Sweden's savage insects

How I tackled northern Sweden's savage insects

Ex-Londoner Paul Connolly has just survived a northern Sweden heat wave. But it wasn't the high temperatures that were the real problem, he recounts. READ  

What's On in Sweden - Pride Parade

What's On in Sweden - Pride Parade

Saturday marks the Stockholm Pride Parade, the biggest event of Pride Week (and the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia). Here's what to see and where to be, as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities for the weekend. READ  

Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden
File photo: Carl Dougge/Flickr

Railway fatalaties on the rise in Sweden

Even though Sweden's Traffic Agency has drastic plans to reduce the number of people killed by trains in Sweden, a new report shows that figures are on the rise. READ  

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

Woman finds Ikea bags stuffed with 80 skeletons

UPDATED: A woman in southern Sweden is furious after stumbling upon scores of skulls and human bones inside Ikea bags in a church. The man who dug up the bones, however, says it's not as bad as it looks. READ  

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

Swedish Wikipedia jumps to second biggest

There are now more Swedish Wikipedia entries than any other language in the world, besides English. And there's one Swede who's largely responsible. READ  

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police
The aftermath of the attack in Seved, Malmö on July 6th 2014. Drago Prvulovic / TT

Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police

Police in southern Sweden have concluded that a man who was beaten with an iron pipe for hanging an Israeli flag in his window was not a victim of a hate crime. READ  

Stockholm demonstration against Israel
Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »


27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: