In Denmark a brand new prison is opening in November 2017. One of the first units opening is a departure ward with foreign inmates. The inmates are transferred from another closed prison – Nyborg Prison that today contains 2 departure units. After the transfer the three largest closed prisons in Denmark will have departure wards specializing in the work with foreigners and preparing them for departure after serving their sentence.
It is one thing to open a brand new prison – new buildings, new technology, and new staff, but it takes something extra to open a specialized unit at the same time. It is important to be prepared before opening the unit. To give staff and inmates the best possible start there has been arranged meeting between the staff and leaders of the three prisons. The main topics to discuss will be, background and goal for the units, ideas to opening the unit in a good way, corporation with the police, challenges with these type of units, and more generally how do we help each other in the best possible way to make the units alike and well run.
The departure ward in Nyborg was established in 2008, and the staff in the ward is therefore experienced within the area – and typically also as officers in general. Upon hiring new staff, the competences of the applicants are carefully considered. The prison has thus been able to choose a staff with various linguistic competences, benefitting the inmates as regards overcoming the language barriers that often result from combining different nationalities.
In Nyborg Prison deportation instruction takes the form of individual interviews with the inmates focusing on their individual case. In this connection, the ward uses the material which is available in several languages on the Danish Prison and Probation Service’s intranet. In addition, a more informal form of deportation instruction is undertaken on a daily basis, when the staff answers inmates’ questions concerning their individual situation
The reason why there are now departure wards in the three largest closed prisons is that it works. The work with the inmates is more professional, the staff is well trained and comfortable with the job, the inmates are better prepared to leave Denmark after serving their sentence, corporation with the police is easy and everyday life in the units is quiet and with a low conflict level.
I am looking forward to the opening of the new prison and their departure ward and to a good cooperation between the prisons.
Henrik Marker Bonde
With Financial support from the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Commission