Year

Daily life

All prisoners are entitled to spend at least one hour a day in the open air

yes

Norwegian law provides that “Inmates shall, as far as possible, spend time outdoors daily” (Penal Enforcement Act, section 22).

The prison service offers activities to prisoners

yes

The Correctional Service requires inmates to engage in daytime activities such as work, training, programmes and other activities.
Remand prisoners are not required to take part in these activities (Enforcement of Sentences Act, section 49).

  • The prison authorities have put various measures in place to improve the situation of prisoners during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prisoners have access to new books, audio books and videogames.They have also been offered yoga and meditation to encourage them to exercise in their cells. Games such as quizzes have been organised daily with prizes for the winners.

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    2020
    / www.kriminalomsorgen.no/

There are designated places for physical activities and sports

yes

The most frequently practiced sports are football, table tennis, volleyball, cycling and long-distance running (in groups).

There are designated places for cultural activities

yes

The most commonly offered cultural activities are music lessons, concerts, film screenings and theatre.

Inmates are consulted on the proposed activities. They may, upon admission, indicate the activities that interest them. They can propose new ones.

A list of proposed activities is circulated within the facility. Each inmate registers for their preferred activities.

Prison facilities have a library

some facilities

Large facilities have libraries. Inmates in small facilities have access to the local public library.

Access to work, education and health is part of the “import model”. It combines punishment and social care.1

The Norwegian Correctional Service measures the activity level of inmates by recording participation in education, work and programmes across all categories. 82 per cent of all prisoners were enrolled in activities in 2018. However, the variety and amount of activities and work remain insufficient.


  1. Thomas Ugelvik states that “prison is seen as an integral part of the Norwegian welfare state” (Ugelvik, 2016). Refer to the Introduction

Work is compulsory

no

Prisoners have a “duty of care”. They are required to attend training, participate in an activity, program or work.
If a prisoner refuses to do so, they may be subject to a stricter detention policy or lose eligibility to receive financial support. However, there is a work shortage.

All prisoners are allowed to work

yes

Inmates may not be made to work as a punishment for misconduct.

Labour as a punitive measure is prohibited

yes

Prisoners express their desire to work to administration. The administration must offer a job to everyone. This offer represents a particular challenge in old facilities, which lack adequate space.

The prison administration organizes the division of labour. Inmates can request a transfer to a facility offering more interesting work.

Inmates do not, in principle, enter into an employment contract. They do, in an open institution, when they work outside.

Maximum daily/weekly working hours are set, including at least one day of rest

yes

The working day usually starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. It is split in two by a lunch break and can last up to eight hours. Prisoners have two days off per week.

Prisoners are paid for their work

yes

Salaries are

significantly below the national minimum wage

The average daily wage is NOK 65 (EUR 7). This amount is lower than the hourly rate outside.

Prisoners are paid on a piecework basis

no

Their income is subject to social contributions

no

Health and safety standards applicable outside are respected in prison

yes

Prisoners have the right to join trade unions

yes

Authority(ies) in charge of education and vocational training

The County Municipality (Fylkeskommune)

The Municipality is responsible, both in prison and outside, for primary and secondary education and vocational training (Education Act, section 13-2a).

Courses are delivered by teachers from upper secondary schools.

Education is provided

in all facilities

Prisons offer a wide range of courses and training at varying levels. These are consistent with the Norwegian schooling system.

Education is available for all prisoners

yes

The prison service implements measures to fight illiteracy

yes

Prisoners are allowed to pass diplomas and entry examinations

yes

Vocational training is provided

yes

Vocational training is available for all prisoners

yes

Distance courses are available

yes

Prisoners have access to computers

in some facilities

The classrooms of some facilities are equipped with computers. Internet access is limited.

Most facilities prohibit the use of computers in cells. Some open institutions and halfway houses allow inmates to own a computer and telephone with Internet access. Use may be monitored at any time.

Inmates with the required skills may be allowed to provide training to others. The determining criteria include the following: relationships between them, profile, possible gang membership, etc. This is more common in open facilities.

Prisoners are allowed to keep themselves informed regularly on public affairs

yes

Restrictions may apply.

Prisoners have access to a television

yes

Prisoners sometimes have a television in their cell. Communal spaces are generally equipped with a television set.

Prisoners have access to a radio

yes

Most prisoners have a radio in their cell.

Prisoners have access to the press

yes

Prisoners have access to newspapers in the library or a room reserved for that purpose.

The prison service allows access to Internet

in some facilities

Prisoners can use the Internet for educational reasons (to research for a class or find information) or to communicate with their relatives on Skype1.


  1. See the Contact with the outside section

The prison authorities censor only pornographic content.

The religions most represented in prison are Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.

Prisoners are free to practice their religion and follow their beliefs

yes

Group prayer is not permitted for Muslim inmates. They may pray individually in their cells. This measure was taken after some Muslim prisoners complained of pressure from others to join in group prayers.

Dedicated places of worship are available

in all facilities

Some facilities have a specially-designed room. If this is not possible, a space is set aside for worship.

There are chaplains in the prisons

yes

These worship leaders are mainly priests of the Church of Norway and imams.

The prison service remunerates the chaplains

no

Their remuneration is paid by their community.

The prison administration has established a mentoring programme to prevent radicalisation. Prisoners at risk of radicalisation are individually assigned a correctional officer.

Individuals or organisations from the outside are allowed to participate in prison activities

yes

Authorisations for external actors to take part in prison activities are provided by

the management of the facility

The main agencies authorized to enter prisons are:

  • the Norwegian Red Cross
  • associations of former convicts or former drug addicts, e.g. Wayback (social reintegration)
  • legal aid associations, such as Jurk (legal advice for women) and the Jussbuss
  • associations supporting the families of prisoners, such as For Fangers Paørende (FFP)

Football teams from the outside are also invited to participate in sports activities.

External actors do not receive State remuneration.

Prisoners are allowed to make use of financial resources

yes

Financial resources are accessible

  • in cash
  • on a registered an account

The process of accessing financial resources depends on the facility. Some of them, usually open facilities, allow limited access to cash for external purchases.

Destitute prisoners receive financial or in-kind support

yes

Inmates unable to engage in an activity or work (work is paid) receive financial assistance from the administration.

Prisoners are allowed to discuss matters relating to their conditions of imprisonment

depends on the detention policy

Prisoners have the right of association

depends on the detention policy

Prisoners have the right to vote

yes

The vote is organised by the competent external authorities. They are responsible for all the necessary arrangements to guarantee the exercise of voting rights.

Inmates are allowed to participate in the hosting of a radio programme or the editing of a publication. One radio programme, Røver Radio (“thief radio”) is hosted by prisoners in Oslo Prison. It broadcasts nationally every Sunday to the general public.