Reduce prison relapses

Lower recidivism rates among Icelandic prisoners

In no other Nordic country are ex-prisoners re-imprisoned less often than in Iceland, reports RÚV. The data come from a current study that looks at the period from 2012 to 2016.

According to the study, around 35 percent of all ex-prisoners in Denmark, Sweden and Finland are re-arrested within two years. In Iceland the number was 20 percent. Figures from Norway were not available.

Páll Winkel, director of the Icelandic prisons, links the relative success with the targeted reintegration policy of the Icelandic government. “People used to be sent to a closed institution where everyone served their sentence and was released on parole. Today we have a closed prison, where the people serve their sentences, then they go to the open prison, from there to a house that is a little further open, from there to the electronic surveillance in their home, with an ankle strap. "

In his view, the study shows that the Icelandic approach reduces the likelihood of criminal recidivism.

“It shows us that locking people up for long periods of time in a closed prison without giving them support or enabling them to cope better with life when they are released just doesn't work. It shows that the more support they receive and the more they are gradually released, the greater the chances [of not being re-admitted]. "

Winkel described it as special that around 50 percent of inmates in Icelandic prisons have been detained for sex offenses or drug offenses. He said he was satisfied that the proportion of foreign prisoners in Iceland had fallen by 20 percent.