The replica cell at Central Station.
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The replica cell at Central Station. Credit: Ellen Hammarskiöld/Sveriges Radio
Nils Öberg, head of the prison and probation service, inside a replica cell used in a recruitment campaign at Stockholm's Central Station.
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Nils Öberg, head of the prison and probation service, inside a replica cell used in a recruitment campaign at Stockholm's Central Station. Credit: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden Ekot
Anna Einarsson, works with the electronic tagging of offenders in the probation service.
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Anna Einarsson, works with the electronic tagging of offenders in the probation service. Credit: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden Ekot
Ehsan Choudary transports prisoners in his job at Kriminalvården.
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Ehsan Choudary transports prisoners in his job at Kriminalvården. Credit: Dave Russell/Radio Sweden Ekot

Prison service hopes temporary jail cell boosts recruitment efforts

Head of prison service Nils Öberg: Prison is not a holiday camp
7:33 min

Sweden's prison and probation service (Kriminalvården) has reconstructed a jail cell in the middle of Stockholm's Central Station as part of a week long recruitment drive to capture new staff.

The ten metre square, single bed cell, is an exact replica of those found at Sweden's 48 prisons and 30 custody detention centres around the country.

It's attracting the attention of the thousands of rail and underground train travellers passing through Stockholm's Central Station.

Staff from the prison and probation service (Kriminalvården) show people the cell, how an electronic ankle tag works and the interior of a prison van.           

The head of Sweden's prison and probation service, Nils Öberg,  tells Radio Sweden that the week long publicity campaign, costing SEK 450 000, is needed to attract new staff to the service, which employs 12,000 people.   

"We are the fourth largest state run organisation in the country but people, in general, don't know what we do. So, the first task is to tell people who we are and what we do. And we are in a phase right now where we need to recruit a lot of people for the organisation, so it is also a way for us to attract new staff."

There are 3,800 people serving a sentence in Swedish prisons, while 11,000 have contact with probation offices and 1,600 are awaiting trial or sentence in custody detention centres.

Director General Nils Öberg says they are looking to recruit people who can help criminals rehabilitate:   

"Values and attitudes. We need people who like to work in teams. You need to be skilled in human relations and you need to have an interest in other people. Everything we do is about change, changing people's lives."

The reoffending rate in Sweden is 29 percent compared to 42 percent a decade years ago. Prison numbers dropped in 2012 but are now back to previous levels and Nils Öberg expects the prison population to climb, following tougher sentencing laws from the government.

Sweden was the first country in Europe in 1997 to introduce the electronic tagging of convicted criminals serving a six month sentence or less. Criminals must apply and have a job.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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