Prisoners only have access to two psychologists Skip to content

Prisoners only have access to two psychologists

By Iceland Review

The 500 people who the Prison Authority of Iceland oversees, detainees, people on probation or in community service, only have access to two psychologists because of a tight budget.

“We need at least one more psychologist for the prisons, preferably two,” court psychologist Anna Kristín Newton, who also works as a psychologist for the Prison Authority, told Morgunbladid.

Most treatments are individual; it is not possible to offer group treatments, Newton said. “We need more help for group therapy. We started out with an anger management course, almost only as extra work, but we just couldn’t continue. This group [prisoners] is much too difficult.”

According to Newton, the Prison Authority would like to hire more psychologists, but a tight budget won’t allow it.

“A lot of things have changed since I started working here seven years ago. The group that enters the prison today […] is more willing to ask for help and many have more problems than before, like a longer history of drug abuse,” Newton said.

“We have also noticed that individuals in prisons who have mental illnesses like hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder have increased,” Newton continued.

Newton said in a perfect world every person serving a sentence would be given at least one session with a psychologist. “But we are only two and we will never have time to tend to everyone who comes in here,” she concluded.

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