Overweight inmate seeks damages for svelte fatigues

An inmate at Karlskrona prison in southern Sweden has applied for damages after the prisons service was unable to provide adequate attire to cover his considerable frame.

Fredrik Hellman, who was placed in the Karlskrona facility in January to serve time for serious tax offences, gained media attention in April when he complained to the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen – JO) that no suitable clothing had been made available to him.

Hellman, who weighs in at 160 kilogrammes, has now applied to Sweden’s highest legal representative, the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern – JK), for 20,000 kronor ($2,700) in compensation for the “mental suffering” incurred.

“As I did not have a jacket I was freezing whenever I went out into the recreation area and I have also sustained a cold. I feel violated,” Fredrik Hellman said to Sveriges Radio.

In his letter to JK, Hellman writes that “suffers from obesity” and argues that the t-shirts and track pants supplied to him shortly after he arrived at the prison were inadequate to cope with the Swedish winter.

He complains that the prison only strove to address the situation and find clothes to meet his build following media interest in his case.

Hellman’s vital statistics meant that his clothing requirements exceeded those offered within the standard range of prison clothing.

He was denied a request to use his own private clothing while the prison authorities sought to resolve the issue, a decision that Stefan Nilsson at the Swedish Prison and Probation Service regrets, according to Sveriges Radio.

“With the benefit of hindsight we should perhaps have taken another decision,” he told the station.

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