Morgunblaðið reports an idea is currently circulating that a new prison could be built be a private company, which the Prison and Probation
Administration would then rent.
The proposed new prison would be built in the capital area, and would house some 40 inmates. The prisoners would invariably be either police intake arrests awaiting bail and convicts sentenced to short terms. As it stands, Iceland’s prisons are overcrowded, with some 234 inmates waiting to complete their sentences.
The Prison and Probation Administration would rent the privately-built and owned prison through a 30 to 40 year lease. The proposed prison would be the first privatized prison in Scandinavia.
Privatized prisons are popular in other countries, such as the US, as cost-saving – an attractive propect for cash-strapped Iceland. However, such institutions are not without their share of critics, who contend that they can create a “prison industry”; inmates put to work to help raise money to maintain the prisons. This often means prisoner services – such as food and medical care – are in effect privately managed as well.