The alarm: “The inmates are taking over” Swedish prisons


Published 5 February 2024 at 09.27

Domestic. Swedish prisons are grappling with an escalating violent situation while overcrowding prevails. The Seko trade union sounds the alarm that the limit has been reached.

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– We are losing control. The inmates more or less take over the departments, says Christer Hallqvist, chairman of Seko's Department of Correctional Services, to SVT Nyheter.

During 2023, over 3,600 incidents of threats and violence between inmates and against staff in detention centers and institutions were reported – a clear increase from the previous year.

According to the union, the lack of places is a contributing factor to the increasing problem of violence.

– The staff backs out instead of being close to the inmates and you don't have time prevent incidents. It will end in disaster, says Christer Hallqvist to SVT.

Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer (M) admits that the situation within Swedish correctional services is “very strained”. He points to a long-term lack of expansion of the Correctional Service and promises to take measures to improve the conditions in the long term and deal with the ongoing pressure.


Between inmates

2021: 1,242 incidents

2022: 1,198

2023: 1,333

Against staff

2021: 1,744 incidents

2022: 1,962

2023: 2,354

Source: Correctional Service via SVT