Policy on drugs in Norwegian prisons: Increased control, answers to poverties and looking for a life after release

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ABSTRACT

AIMS - This article discusses Norwegian policy on drugs in prison since the 1970s as presented by prison authorities. How does the drug policy fit the penal frame and how are these policies related? Does the drug policy soften the prison policy, and does the prison policy strengthen the drug policy? How does the policy on drugs in prison impact on the position of prisons in society? DATA AND METHOD - I have used documents such as white papers, budgets and circular letters, and interviews with former and present directors of Norwegian correctional services. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS - Since the 1970s, four main measures have been implemented to handle drug problems in prison, combining control, sanctions and rehabilitative measures. They accord with the general prison policy on rehabilitation and control, and support both elements. What is also crucial in the prison drug policy is the position taken in penal policy that treatment should not take place in prison, but inmates should be rehabilitated and motivated to apply for treatment and help after release. This can be seen as a factor influencing the prison numbers.

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