From Iceland — Litla Hraun Prison Still Failing Mentally Ill Inmates

Litla Hraun Prison Still Failing Mentally Ill Inmates

Published March 5, 2015

Nanna Árnadóttir
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Grapevine Archives

There remains no staff psychologist at Iceland’s maximum security prison Litla Hraun, a year and a half on, reports RÚV.

As reported a year ago, Litla Hraun was failing to provide mental health services to its inmates due to funding cuts and at that point there had been no psychologist on staff for six months. Unable to cope with the more challenging inmates, one mentally ill prisoner was reportedly kept in solitary confinement for 2 months last year.

“The fact is that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which examines the state of prisons every few years, has stipulated in a new report that more needs to be done to service the mental health of prisoners here because nothing has improved,” said Bright Future MP, Róbert Marshall, in a speech to parliament.

Interior Minister, Ólöf Nordal, who took over from Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir three months ago, said that she would invest more time into the issue and that she had unfortunately taken too long to address the situation.

According to Icelandic law, prisoners should enjoy the same level of health care as those outside of prison but the lack of access to a mental health professional means this law is not being upheld at this time and that these prisoners’ rights have been legally violated by the state for over a year and a half.

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