UN torture body blasts Swedish prisons

The United Nations Committee against Torture has directed strong criticism against Sweden for the conditions in its remand prisons, Dagens Nyheter reports.

UN torture body blasts Swedish prisons

A new report published by the committee that Dagens Nyheter has read, argues that cut backs within the prisons service have created security risks for both staff and inmates.

In a five-day visit to Sweden’s remand prisons in March the committee learned from both staff and inmates that they would like to have more contact with each other. Staff argued that tight resources means that they are unable to attend to prisoners that may need their help.

A wave of high profile suicides in Swedish remand prisons has occurred in recent years and the cuts in staffing levels are to blame, some argue.

“More money is needed for the prisons service. But the government is going in the opposite direction and demanding savings. We have to also realize however that we can not have round the clock monitoring of the 1,700 inmates that we have in Sweden,” said Lars Nylén, director-general of the National Prisons and Probation Administration, to Dagens Nyheter.

The committee’s report also criticizes Sweden’s courts for the fact that prison restrictions, such as television bans, are imposed on 42 percent of inmates.

The Swedish government now has six months to reply to the UN criticism.