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Punished and isolated: disabled prisoners in Norway

By Hilde Haualand


Serving a sentence has two purposes in Norway; it is a punishment for a crime and it is considered as an opportunity for rehabilitation to prevent repeated crime. This presupposes that all prisoners have access to activities and common rooms in the prisons. Interviews with prisoners with hearing or mobility impairments showed that accessibility is a problem in many prisons. The experiences of prisoners with hearing or mobility impairment show that lack of awareness and preparedness for their situation causes isolation as well as a decline in physical and mental health. Some prisons had cells partially adapted for prisoners with disabilities – and these were mostly located in high-security units. A majority of Norwegian prisons have some experience with disabled prisoners, but there are no systems for knowledge accumulation or sharing within the Norwegian Correctional Service. Lack of accessibility also deprived some disabled prisoners of their legal right to progression of the conditions for serving their sentences, and they served under more severe conditions for longer periods than non-disabled prisoners. Due to the lack of accommodation and access to health care and rehabilitation measures in prisons, they run the risk of serving a sentence without access to rehabilitation

Topics: sentence, prisons, rehabilitation, isolation, Social sciences (General), H1-99
Publisher: Stockholm University Press
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1080/15017419.2014.945956
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