Denmark to send prisoners to Kosovo

To ease the pressure in its overcrowded prisons, Denmark plans to outsource around 300 prison places to Kosovo. Foreign convicts who are to be deported after serving their sentence are to do their time there. "We no longer have a duty to resocialise these persons. This means we can move this whole group abroad," said Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup. The national press is divided.

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Berlingske (DK) /

The right direction

Berlingske welcomes the plans:

“Previous similar initiatives have failed, and experts caution that there could be conflicts with the European Convention on Human Rights here. But it's worth a try. Firstly, it must be emphasised that we are not talking about ordinary Danish offenders here, but about foreigners from non-EU countries who have been sentenced to deportation - in other words, people who have to leave Denmark anyway. And secondly, the execution of sentences in Kosovo is to be carried out according to Danish rules. The initiative will contribute to solving the acute capacity problems in the country's prisons and also send a clear signal that deportation orders are meant to be taken seriously and enforced. The new agreement is not perfect. ... But it goes in the right direction.”

Politiken (DK) /

Don't deport responsibility

In contrast, Politiken is very sceptical about the plans:

“From a purely legal point of view this is a clever solution because it does not obviously violate human rights as long as we make sure that the inmates receive proper treatment. In practice, however, it will not be easy to monitor the conditions they are kept in from a distance of 2,000 kilometres. ... Only Norway has outsourced prisons to other countries so far - but to the Netherlands, not to Kosovo - and according to experts it has had bad results with this practice. It is difficult to ensure that human rights are respected in another country. ... People who are sentenced in Denmark should also serve their sentences in Denmark. This is about our problems and our responsibilities.”