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Denmark rents hundreds of prisons in Kosovo

The Danish Minister of Justice, Nick Hykrupp (S), has signed an agreement with the Minister of Justice of Kosovo, Albolina Hacksho, which states that Denmark will have the opportunity to rent 300 places in the prison in the city of Gilan in southeastern Kosovo. Thus, convicted criminals who will be deported from Denmark can serve their sentences in prison in Kosovo instead of on Danish territory.

Hikerup describes the agreement, which has yet to be approved by the Folketing and parliament in Kosovo, as “pioneering”.

“I think it’s very nice to be able to expel the convicts as quickly as possible,” he says.

Convention Background Is that today there are no places and staff in Danish prisons, and that the situation may worsen. There are currently about 4,000 inmates in Danish prisons and according to forecasts from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, this number could rise to more than 5,000 in 2025.

Nick Hækkerup hopes to have all the practical details about prisons in Kosovo ready during the first quarter of 2023. Among other things, inmates are entitled to serve their sentences in conditions similar to those in Danish prisons. Therefore, the prison, located in the southeast of Kosovo, must be reconstructed according to Danish standards. Convicts may also need private health insurance in prison that Hækkerup would like convicts to pay for themselves.

Head of the Prison Service The trade union, Bo Yde Sørensen, is critical.

– The starting point for me is that the rule of law should be able to solve its problems within the borders of the country. I fear it will be a logistical nightmare for the Swedish Prison and Probation Service and the Danish state, he says.

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Alkarama Research Institute, the Danish Institute Against Torture, is also concerned.

We will closely monitor the implementation of the agreement, including whether Denmark complies with all international obligations, Alkarama President Rasmus Gro Kristensen wrote on Twitter.

The question is also asked in Sweden If prisons are raised abroad. In light of the Danish initiative, Tobias Andersson (SD) asked the government in February 2022 in writing whether it intended to “work on an investigation into the issue of renting institutional premises abroad?”.

Morgan Johansson (Q) replied: “Effective and safe prison care, adapted to individual circumstances and needs, has taken a long time to build up and has contributed to a decline in recidivism over time. This development will continue and will continue on Swedish soil. Prison rental cannot solve the More places are needed abroad in Sweden. It is also not a solution that the Swedish Prison and Probation Service itself is asking for.”