Prison Guards Work Overtime to Help Addicts Skip to content

Prison Guards Work Overtime to Help Addicts

More than 70 percent of convicts in Iceland’s maximum security prison Litla-Hraun had traces of drugs in their blood in a study conducted by the State Prison Authority late last year. A treatment center was established where prison guards work overtime.

“Nowadays many of our boys are suffering from the consequences of drug addiction. They need better treatment and more advice than earlier convicts,” duty officer at Litla-Hraun Rúnar Eiríksson, who has worked there longest, since 1981, told Fréttabladid.

The prison treatment facility opened on November 12, 2007. Eleven convicts, who are trying to stay sober within the prison walls, live there currently.

“We have applied for funding for such operations since 2000 but without luck. We didn’t think we could wait any longer and therefore established these operations with the resources we had,” said Prison Authority psychologist Thórarinn V. Hjaltason.

Due to the importance of this project, prison staff has agreed to working overtime. “It is in fact an addition to the work that we do already,” said staff member Einar Loftur Högnason. His colleague Svava Thrastardóttir added, “But it is a very gratifying and interesting addition.”

Director of the Prison Authority Páll Winkel said the idea of a model prison is based on giving convicts the chance to solve their problems while learning a lesson from their punishment.

“I think everyone realizes that no place needs a detox station and specialized treatment more than Litla-Hraun,” Hjaltason said.

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