Denmark to rent 300 prison cells from Kosovo

Denmark's Herstedvester Prison. The Nordic country is to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo, citing overcrowding.
Denmark's Herstedvester Prison. The Nordic country is to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo, citing overcrowding. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark plans to rent from Kosovo prison cells for 300 inmates due to be expelled at the end of their sentences, the Danish government said Wednesday.

The project, which seeks to ease prison overcrowding, will also see Denmark’s prison estate expanded by 326 places between 2022 and 2025, the Danish justice ministry said in a statement.

In 2020, some 350 inmates were due to be deported at the end of their sentences. 

Denmark’s prison population has grown 19 percent since 2015, reaching more than 4,000 inmates at the start of 2021, exceeding 100 percent of capacity according to official statistics.

In the same period the number of wardens shrank 18 percent in the Scandinavian nation of 5.8 million people which is known for its open prisons for inmates with sentences of less than five years.

“We will be short of up to 1,000 places in the prison estate by 2025,” Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup said in the statement.

“With the agreement, it is agreed to rent 300 prison places in Kosovo and expand the prison capacity in Denmark by several hundred places,” the statement added.

Kosovo had 1,642 prisoners as of 2020, 97 percent of capacity, according to the University of London’s World Prison Brief.

Previously Norway and Belgium have rented prison cells in the Netherlands.

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