The measures are part of a bill that Minister of Justice Nick Hækkerup (S) sent for consultation on Friday.
The bill proposes that prison officers should be able to use handcuffs more often. This may be in situations where prisoners need to be transported or where they behave violently towards staff.
In those situations, one cannot generally use handcuffs today. But it is needed, the Minister of Justice believes.
“Unfortunately, we have seen some unacceptable examples of prisoner escapes in recent years,” says Nick Hækkerup in a press release.
– Therefore, we will now give the authorities the opportunity to keep the inmates on a shorter leash with increased use of handcuffs and increased letter and visitor control.
Convicted criminals must serve their sentences, and prison staff must have better working conditions so that they can go to work without having to risk being involved in a prison escape, he says.
In addition to several options for the use of handcuffs and letter and visitor control, there are also proposals to make it possible to hold more court hearings digitally.
This can happen if it is assessed that there is a risk that a defendant or accused will try to flee during the transport to the court hearing or during the court hearing itself.
The chairman of the Prison Association, Bo Yde Sørensen, views the proposal positively.
– In recent years, we have seen escapes of various kinds, and increased use of handcuffs will naturally reduce the desire to escape to some extent, writes Bo Yde Sørensen in an email.
He adds that it will be able to increase security for both the Danish Prison and Probation Service’s staff and inmates who are not violent.
John Hatting, national chairman of the Danish Prison and Probation Service, also expects that the proposal will be able to limit the number of prisoner escapes.
– The proposal could deter some from getting free, by holding digital court hearings.
– You want handcuffs in increased use in certain episodes, and that way you will have better control of the clientele, says John Hatting.
A report from the Council of Europe in 2018 shows that Denmark is high on the list of countries in Europe where most flee per 10,000 prisoners – both from closed and open prisons. Denmark was number seven on the list.
If you look only at closed prisons, Denmark took third place on the list of countries from which most people escape from prison.
In recent years, several notable prisoner escapes have taken place on Danish soil.
In 2020, the convicted murderer Peter Madsen managed to escape from Herstedvester Prison.
And in 2019, a 46-year-old Syrian who was suspected in an extensive terrorist case managed to escape from Vestre Prison, while in 2018 there was a gang leader who fled from a psychiatric ward in Slagelse, where he was imprisoned.
If the bill is passed, the new rules will apply from January next year.
Source: The Nordic Page