A cell in the Kronoberg remand prison (left), and a lock at a remand center in Umeå. Photo: TT

Swedish prisons aim to improve conditions for youth in solitary

After criticism from the UN Committee against Torture, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service has started a project to reduce the amount of time young inmates spend alone, according to Swedish Radio News.

Swedish Radio visited the Kronoberg remand prison in Stockholm, and describes a corridor of long green doors, each topped with a lamp that the inmate can light from within in order to indicate if he needs to go to the bathroom or talk to a prison officer.

Felicia Juselius, who works with youth at the prison, says that they sometimes get depressed, and that they become unmotivated, and they lose interest in the life that's happening outside the prison.

During the first eight months of this year, 500 people under the age of 21 were detained in Sweden with restrictions, which means that they are isolated for a large part of the day.

Now, the Prison Services is aiming for inmates to get at least two hours of contact with other people a day, for example, with staff from the prison, a yoga instructor, a psychologist or volunteers.

Åsa Wallengren, who is leading the project for the Prison Services, tells Swedish Radio News, "It's enough, so that (the conditions) won't be considered as similar to torture, and it's a step forward."

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