Various organisation and experts have condemned the surveillance of inmates at eight young offender institutions, which since January have been monitored according to the terms of the former government’s youth crime program.
According to the bill, CCTV surveillance is a necessary step to maintain the security of the institutions. The children (all inmates are under the age of 18) are monitored 24/7 in their classrooms, living quarters, common rooms and even the sports areas.
Drawing severe criticism
However, various interest organisations and experts claim the cameras are unnecessary, reports DR.
“For many years, the secured institutions have been working to create a culture that is not about ‘us against them’ or control. We find it difficult to see what the surveillance will contribute,” Søren Skjødt, the head of the Godhavn treatment centre for children and adolescents, told DR.
The institution believes nothing positive will come out of the monitoring and that it is a hindrance to the well-being of the youngsters.
Becoming like a prison
“They [children] have asked questions about why the cameras have been put up and whether this is because we expect them to be violent,” opined Maria Hæstrup, a department head at Kompasset, one of the eight monitored centres.
“It is an affront to the young people’s right to privacy and also in terms of human rights,” added Marya Akhtar, a specialist at the Department of Human Rights.
“We are very conscious of showing the young that it is not a prison, but a social educational institution with a caring staff.”
Akhtar believes the new rules counteract the framework and that the children are constantly aware of being looked at.
“It’s sliding towards prison-like conditions,” commented Tina Maria Larsen, member of the Børnerådet Children’s Council.
Khader defends the new rule
Konservative MP Naser Khader considers the TV surveillance a vital measure.
“It’s preventive in nature. It’s also about having documentation if a dangerous situation happens,” he explained.
“We listen to the objections and criticism, but we have no intention of changing our stance.”