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Prisons Face Housing Crisis

Every prison in Iceland is overcrowded and if a new prison is not built soon, or Litla-Hraun Penitentiary enlarged, the situation will become dire, according to mbl.is.

The Reykjavik Police. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Head of The Prison and Probation Administration, Páll Winkel, says that any ideas to accommodate prisoners in housing not built as a prison are unrealistic, since such contemporary solutions are impractical and also more expensive.

According to Winkel, even if the Prison and Probation Administration can get housing in Arnarholt, which used to a be a hospital, or at Bitra, which was built as a women’s prison, the PPA does not have the financial resources to add prison cells. It costs around 100 million ISK to run a prison for twenty people for one year.

Winkel says that the foundation does not seek temporary housing solutions. Converting a building to a prison would prove more expensive than building a new one. Also, it is impractical to run many small prisons.

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