As Iceland’s prisons remain overcrowded, a solution has yet to materialise.
RÚV reports that some 300 convicted Icelanders have no place to serve their sentences, as the country’s prisons are already beyond capacity. The situation at this point calls for the building of a new high-security prison, with an estimated cost of 2 billion ISK.
One idea that has been in public discussion lately has been to convert a now-defunct work camp in Reyðarfjörður, once used to house labourers who built an aluminium smelter, into such a prison. Another idea was to move the work camp itself to the largest prison in Iceland, Litla-Hraun.
However, Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has rejected any plans to use the old work camp, saying that specific plans have never reached his office, and that such a proposal would never replace a high-security facility. At best, he said, this would be a stop-gap solution.
Iceland’s prisons have been overcrowded to some degree or another for several years now. A few years ago, this prompted discussions about deporting foreigners convicted of crimes to serve their sentences in their home countries, but the legislative changes and diplomatic agreements required made the idea prohibitively unrealistic.