Denmark to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo to ease overcrowding

Denmark plans to rent 300 prison cells in Kosovo for inmates due to be deported at the end of their sentences, the Danish government announced.

The project, which seeks to ease prison overcrowding, will also expand Denmark’s prison estate by 326 places between 2022 and 2025, the Danish justice ministry said in a statement.

Last year, 350 inmates were due to be deported at the end of their sentences.

Denmark’s prison population has grown by 19% since 2015, reaching more than 4,000 inmates at the start of 2021 and exceeding 100% of capacity, according to official statistics.

In the same period the number of wardens fell by 18% in the Scandinavian nation of 5.8 million people, where inmates with sentences of less than five years typically serve them in open prisons.

“We will be short of up to 1,000 places in the prison estate by 2025,” the justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, said in the statement.

“With the agreement, it is agreed to rent 300 prison places in Kosovo and expand the prison capacity in Denmark by several hundred places,” the statement added.

Kosovo had 1,642 prisoners as of 2020, 97% of capacity, according to the University of London’s World Prison Brief.

Norway and Belgium have previously rented prison cells in the Netherlands.

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