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Icelandic Prisons Overcrowded

fangavaktin-posterIcelandic prisons are overcrowded and felons whose time it is to serve sentences have been turned away temporarily in some instances. Three hundred convicted felons are now waiting to serve sentences, Fréttabladid reported. The state runs six prisons and at present 189 inmates are serving sentences in 150 cells. Of these, 177 are men and 12 women.

Páll Winkel, director of the Prison Institution, is calling for a new prison to be built as soon as possible. A new prison with 56 cells has been planned near Reykjavík. When it is completed, older facilities for female inmates and those in custody will be closed. The new prison is expected to cost ISK 1,7 billion (EUR 10.6 million / USD 14.7 million).

“We have two beds in some of the cells in every prison. The cells are designed for one inmate and this means that the cells are overcrowded, which is unsuitable for anyone.”

Icelandic prisoners can work and are paid to study. Inmates who study get an hourly salary of ISK 380 (EUR 2.4 / USD 3.2), for up to five hours a day. Sixty inmates have enrolled for studies.

For easy work they get the same pay but for more advanced work they get ISK 415 per hour (EUR 2.6 / USD 3.6). The Prison Institution paid out ISK 50 million (EUR 314,465 / USD 431,000) in wages last year during which there was a seven percent increase in inmate numbers.

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