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Norway: ‘Women in Prison: A Thematic Report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway’

20th January 2017

The Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman has released a thematic report assessing the quality of conditions available for female prisoners in Norway. Women in Prison is the first thematic report published by the Parliamentary Ombudsman under its UN mandate as the national preventive mechanism against torture and ill-treatment. The report shows that the conditions in Norway for female prisoners are worse than those for male prisoners.

The report’s finding that conditions available for women arise from many contributing factors, such as the age of the facilities available to female prisoners, and the lower number of female prisoners compared to males. The lower number of women in the prison system leads towards the prison system being designed on the basis of the needs of male prisoners.

Key Findings of the Report:

• Several women's prisons are located in old and unsuitable buildings;

• Many women have significantly poorer access to outdoor areas and physical activities than men;

• Women consistently have poorer access to real work training than men;

• Female inmates often have other health problems than men, and therefore need different health services. Mental health care for women in prison should be improved;

• The substance abuse rehabilitation services offered to women in prison are inferior to those offered to men;

• Women serving in mixed-sex prisons have an increased risk of unwanted attention or sexual harassment by male inmates;

• Some women risk having to serve in prisons with a higher level of security than their case indicates due to the limited number of prison places for women;

• Female inmates risk having to serve their sentence in prisons far away from their families and their own children because of the low number of suitable prison places. This can be particularly challenging for mothers who would like visits from children who cannot travel alone.

To read the full findings of the report click here