The high cost of crime

Eastern European countries should pay for their prisoners in Denmark

Jeppe Kofod, Socialdemokraterne's head candidate in the upcoming European elections, believes the cost of imprisoning foreign nationals should be borne by their home countries. Danish prisons are currently overflowing with foreigners, and it is estimated they cost over 200 million kroner a year to house and feed.

Prisoners should be returned to serve their sentences at home based on a repatriation agreement signed by all EU countries in 2008. However, several eastern European countries have yet to live up to their end of the agreement and refuse to accept the return of their prisoners.

“I would propose a bill insisting that countries accept their own nationals,” Kofod told DR Nyheder.

Danish prisons cost more
Kofod’s proposal would force countries that do not implement the rules on the exchange of prisoners to pay for housing their citizens in other countries.

Kofod’s proposal follows a suggestion last week by Konservative candidate Bendt Bendtsen that Denmark should pay for the establishment and training of staff in prisons in other countries.

Kofod disagreed completely with that idea.

It costs Danish prisons as much as 1,800 kroner per day to house a prisoner. That same bill is about 120 kroner per day in Romania for example.

READ MORE: Prisons packed with foreigners

It is that cost difference that inspired Kofod’s proposal.

“This suggestion puts economic pressure on the countries to repatriate nationals who have been convicted of crimes,” said Kofod.