Year

Contact with the outside world

All prisoners have the right to receive visits

yes

Remand prisoners may be temporarily denied visits. The judge makes the determination.

  • On 13 March 2020, all visits were suspended, other than for lawyers, police officers and ambassadors. Those visits which did take place were conducted through a screen and communication by telephone or videoconference was encouraged instead.

    i
    22/06/2020
    / www.kriminalomsorgen.no
  • Visiting restrictions were relaxed on 20 May 2020 in certain prisons which have the necessary staff and facilities for hygiene measures to be respected.

    i
    20/05/2020
    / www.kriminalomsorgen.no
  • Visits resumed on 22 June in all prisons. Visitors must complete a medical questionnaire before their visit and respect hygiene measures.

    i
    22/06/2020
    / www.kriminalomsorgen.no

Upon admission into the facility, the inmate provides a list of a maximum of four persons who may visit him/her during incarceration. In the course of their detention inmates can modify the list they provided.

The visitor’s pass is obtained via a written application addressed to the judge for the case of remand inmates and to the governor of the facility for the case of convicted inmates.

A preliminary investigation is carried out. If applicants’ criminal records indicate that they have been sentenced previously, they may be denied a visitor’s pass.

Appointments to the visiting area are made through phone calls to the facility.

Visit permits are granted

-

The time it takes to obtain a visitation permit varies from prison to prison, e.g., 14 days for Arendal prison.

People eligible to visit

anyone

Section 31 of the Execution of Sentences Act and the Execution of Sentences Regulations provide guidelines for visits. Each governor can decide on the frequency and days for visits. Inmates may receive “as far as practicable” at least one one-hour visit per week1.


  1. Sivilombudsmannen (Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman), “Women in Prison: a thematic report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway”, 2017, p. 46. 

Prisoners and visitors can meet without physical barriers

yes

In exceptional cases, a barrier may separate the prisoner from their visitor (suspicion of drug trafficking, assignment to a special high-security unit, etc.).

Prisoners are allowed to receive visits from their children or minor relatives

yes, special arrangements are made

Norwegian prisons give particular attention, according to the NPM, to the physical settings for visits.
Bredveit Prison has a room appointed for visits by children. An apartment is also available for visits with minors. Meanwhile, visiting minors have access to an outdoor play area1.
The Correctional Service has a website for children visiting an imprisoned parent. Minors under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.


  1. Sivilombudsmannen (Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman), “Women in Prison: a thematic report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway”, 2017, p. 48. 

Conjugal visits are allowed

yes

Required conditions for conjugal visits

confirmed relationship is not required

Conjugal visits, that last two hours, normally occur once a week. Special rooms are provided to ensure privacy. Seven facilities have designated visiting rooms (Åna, Leira, Bredtveit, Bastøy, Halden, Ringerike and Bergen prisons). Couples and their children can stay overnight. Each unit has its own rules and procedures.

Each facility adopts its own regulations regarding permitted items. Visitors are made aware of these rules. Bringing in food to be consumed during the visit is generally allowed.

Family ties rules strive for the prisoner to serve their sentence as close as possible to their habitual residence. This is not always possible.

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail

yes

Mail exchanged is subject to control

yes

Prisoners are allowed to exchange mail in sealed envelopes

yes

The exchange of sealed correspondence with the Ombudsman, the consular services, the lawyer and the King are allowed.

Prisoners are allowed to receive parcels

yes

E-mail exchange is possible

no

Electronic correspondence is permitted in exceptional cases. It is subject to the same controls as hardware (Regulations on the Execution of Sentences, Section 3-27.

Prisoners are allowed to make external phone calls

yes

Phone calls are limited to 20 minutes a week1.


  1. Sivilombudsmannen (Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman), “Women in Prison: a thematic report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway”, 2017. p. 48. 

  • Prisoners were granted free telephone calls to make up for the restrictions on visits which came into force on 13 March 2020. This measure was in place until 21 June 2020. The prison authorities also provided the inmates with tablet computers.

    i
    2020
    / www.kriminalomsorgen.no

Prisoners are allowed to call

anyone

The number must be cleared. The administration can, where criminal activity is suspected, block a number.

The phones are located

  • in the walkways
  • in the corridors

The location of the telephones does not always guarantee confidentiality.

The cost of phone calls is in line with market prices

yes

Phones calls are wire tapped

yes

The use of cell phones is authorised

no

Mobile phone use is allowed only in halfway houses.

Prisoners have access to video calls with external contacts

no

Video calls (Skype or similar devices) remain an exception in Norwegian prisons. They are only possible in certain facilities, such as Norgehaven prison1. Video conferencing may be allowed when the family resides far away from the facility and visits are irregular.


  1. Sivilombudsmannen (Norwegian Parliamentary Ombudsman), “Women in Prison: a thematic report about the conditions for female prisoners in Norway”, 2017, p. 50.