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Weaknesses identified in the Norwegian Correctional Services - Document no. 3:14 (2004-2005)

The Correctional Services have not achieved a satisfactory level in the objectives set for their work with the execution of sentences. This refers to, for example, the date set for the commencement of community sentences or conditional sentences under the drunk drivers’ programme.
Published 6/15/2005 1:15 PM

Document No. 3:14 (2004-2005): The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the Norwegian Correctional Services’ attainment of objectives was submitted to the Storting on 15 June 2005. The purpose of the investigation was to assess the level to which objectives had been attained with regard to serving sentences in light of the reforms that have been implemented. The investigation covers the Norwegian Correctional Services, its regional offices, prisons, and probation offices.

The investigation has identified several weaknesses in the execution of sentences including unsatisfactory attainment of objectives pertaining to the date set for the commencement of community sentences and for suspended sentences under the drunk drivers’ programme. Variances in the requirements for attaining set objectives concerning daytime activities for remand prisoners have also been uncovered by the investigation. In addition, the activities available in small-scale prisons do not meet a convicted person’s needs to any great extent. One of the prerequisites for ensuring that inmates have access to the services and rights to which they are entitled is satisfactory administrative cooperation. Thirty per cent of the prisons and probation offices covered by the investigation stated that they had insufficient contact with the social services sector, while 20 per cent believed their contact with the public employment service (Aetat), the health sector and the educational services was inadequate.

A lack of implementation plans

At the start of the sentence a convicted person should be offered help in drawing up a plan for the future that includes, for instance, prioritising activities and then implementing and assessing them. The investigation showed that 88 per cent of convicted persons in prisons and 94 per cent of those on probation have not received any help in planning for the future. The probationary service is not only required to develop such plans for the future but also implementation plans for convicted persons detailing the sentence along with any conditions set by the court or which the probationary service has placed the convicted person under. The investigation shows that 41 per cent of convicted persons do not have an implementation plan.

In addition, the investigation indicates that 65 per cent of the prisons and 90 per cent of the probation offices have not developed a strategic plan, while about half of the prisons and probation offices have not drawn up their annual plan for 2003.

Furthermore, the investigation found that no data or statistics, for example, on recidivism exist to permit the measurement of the effects of a stay in prison. The Ministry of Justice and the Police has pointed out that work is continuing on developing improved statistics about re-offenders who return to crime after serving a sentence.

In the Ministry’s opinion the investigation has provided vital input and documented several circumstances which the Ministry considers to be of a serious nature and intends following up in the future.

 

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