Use of solitary confinement in pretrial detentions at a historic low

Effects of 2007 law change can be seen in new report

According to a new report from the public prosecution service Rigsadvokaten, the number of prisoners in solitary confinement in custody is at its lowest for 13 years. In 2014 there were just 36 cases of solitary confinement, compared to over 500 per year a decade ago.

The numbers have been falling since the Venstre-Konservative government in 2006 initiated a tightening of the rules of pretrial detention to minimise the number of prisoners in isolation. The reform, which came into effect at the start of 2007, reduced the maximum permitted duration of periods in isolation and provided extra protection for under-18s.

Only when necessary
According to Søren Pind, the justice minister, solitary confinement should only take place when absolutely necessary.

“Sometimes when people are charged it will be necessary to imprison them in solitary confinement while the case is being investigated. We can’t do anything about that,” he said.

“But solitary confinement can be extremely arduous for the person concerned, and it is therefore important that we are aware of how the extent and duration of solitary confinements can be limited without compromising the interests of investigating and solving crimes.”

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