Denmark introduces prison intelligence service

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Denmark introduces prison intelligence service
Storstrøm Prison, which opened in Denmark in 2017. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Increasingly tense conditions related to the presence of gang members in Denmark’s prisons have resulted in the introduction of a new intelligence agency.


The new security organisation will focus on the most dangerous inmates at prisons in Denmark, Kristeligt Dagblad reports.

Prison authorities are taking the unconventional step in a bid to clamp down on worsening security and assaults against prison officers.

New facilities will be built and some prisoners will be relocated in addition to the new security service, according to the report.

The overall aim of the initiative is to ensure “more consistent intervention in cases of negative behaviour by prisoners,” according to a bill passed in December last year, which provided for the reform.

“This is a stronger internal investigative and security organisation which will enable us to better assess the risks posed by individual prisoners, so that the few do not ruin things for the many. We must ensure that we can match individuals to the correct security standards in our prisons. That requires us to be better at assessing risks posed by individuals,” Thorkild Fogde, director of the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen), told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“But this must also ensure that prisoners who are well-behaved can serve their sentences under less restrictive conditions,” Fogde continued.

The prison service director said that neighbouring Sweden had been looked to as a model for the new security agency, which is an innovation in the Danish context.

Kim Østerbye, who chairs Fængselsforbundet, an association for employees of the prison service, said he was positive about the incoming changes.

“We already record observations about prisoners, but it is not done consistently and is a little ad hoc when it does happen. For us as members of staff it is a form of safety to have better knowledge of the prisoners so that better decisions can be made,” Østerbye told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“An initiative such as this gives me some hope that we can find the right balance in regard to the harsh environment within prisons,” he added.

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