Norway’s Conservative Party (H) suggests foreign criminals be interned in more basic, dedicated prisons than their Norwegian criminal counterparts to save money. Asylum seeker measures will also be tougher should they gain power at next year’s general election.
While present government officials proposed complete segregation of foreign inmates already last year, Conservative deputy leader Bent Høie says, “We don’t need to use resources on rehabilitating convicts who are not going to rejoin Norwegian society but are to be sent out of the country."
“Nor do we need to offer them education or other help to prepare them for a life in Norway,” he tells Aftenposten, Tuesday.
Wishing to increase numbers of foreigners transferred to their own jail, the Conservative’s move is also designed to prevent contact between Norwegian inmates and international criminal networks, and access to Norway’s higher standard prisons.
Strict and soft
Politicians’ suggest legislation changes for all prisoners. According to an email sent to The Foreigner with the latest Party political programme draft, these include:
- Increased sentencing for serious crime such as violence, rape, assault, human trafficking, and terror,
- Considering higher maximum sentences for crimes against humanity, serious acts of terror and mass killings,
- Removing the statute of limitations in grievous assault cases and for murder,
- Stiffer parole conditions, especially regarding serious crimes, with pre-parole assessment by an interdisciplinary group in cases requiring safeguarding society’s need for protection,
- Escape and not returning from prison leave will incur increased penalties.
For inmates to be returned into Norwegian society, some of the proposals are:
- Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) representatives and improved medical staff coverage at all prisons,
- Other forms of serving sentences such as electronic ankle bracelets, especially for underage and young offenders,
- Court-supervised drug rehabilitation programmes instead of prison terms,
- Individual pre-release programmes and post-release follow-ups with housing, activity programmes, and continued drug rehabilitation and education.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives state they want to “build a society based on faith in people as individuals”, with “possibilities for everyone.”
On the basis that everyone, “irrespective of their background”, upholds Norwegian law, officials proclaim, “All individuals shall be accepted and treated as equal. This equality applies regardless of nationality, gender, age, religion, ethnic affiliation, physical disabilities or sexual preferences. It is crucial that society appreciates individuality and encourages diversity.”
“All people are created different, but inherently and inviolably equal,” the Party declares on its website. “Of equal importance are the majority’s willingness to respect the rights of the minority,” reads its statement.
They also advocate equal treatment for and efficient integration of approved asylum seekers. This includes improving Norwegian language abilities in day-care and learning as adults, free places for those on introduction programmes, funding for immigrant organisations, and that Norwegians show willingness to adapt as well.
The Conservatives want to help displaced people, but also aim to reduce the number of asylum seekers to Norway, with a “strict but fair and humane refugee and asylum policy.”
Other measures include increased return agreements with other countries, and quicker deportation for those whose applications have been declined or who are classified as residing in Norway illegally.
“The possibility to drag asylum cases out”, should also be tightened, with “increased use of age verification and DNA testing.”