The percentage of Icelandic prisoners who hail from other countries has remained even for the past three years now, the Minister of the Interior says.
As reported, Progressive chairperson Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson asked Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson for data on what percentage of Icelandic prisoners were foreign, and if that number has grown since 2001. His line of questioning – and other remarks he has made about foreigners – drew harsh criticism from members of his own party.
His questions have nonetheless been answered. Addressing parliament yesterday, Vísir reports, the minister said that in 2001, foreigners comprised 8% of the Icelandic prison population. By 2008, they comprised somewhere between 19% and 22%. Put in real-life figures, on 13 May, there were 35 foreign prisoners in Icelandic prison.
The minister added that the percentage of foreign prisoners in Iceland has plateaued, with no increase since at least 2008. He also said that the number of foreign prisoners in Iceland can actually change from day to day.
Sigmundur responded to the information by saying, “It is useful to have such information, that foreigner prisoners have been increasing since 2001, the year Iceland joined the Schengen Area,” apparently missing the part where the increase stopped in 2008.