Anorak News | Cell-By Date

Cell-By Date

by | 14th, August 2003

‘IN Britain, we wait for months for a doctor, days for a policeman and hours for a train, but our prisons are open (or should that be closed?) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The last word in luxury in Norway

Not so in Norway. The trains may run on time, crime rates may be low and the health service may be a beacon of excellence, but the poor old crooks have to queue up to get into chokey.

In fact, so overcrowded are prisons in Norway that criminals can face a wait of up to five years before a cell becomes available.

”The result,” says the Times, ”is that burglars, drug dealers, robbers, conmen and assorted other villains, although not murderers and rapists, remain at liberty despite being convicted and sentenced.”

There are now almost as many people waiting to do time as there are people in jail, although at 2,666 the prison population is one of the lowest per capita in Europe.

The wait is by no means all good news for the criminals, with regular reports of villains who, while waiting for a cell, get a job, meet and marry a girl and then suddenly have to explain that they will not be around for the next few years.

One such man was Vidar Sandli, who was sentenced to three years in 1998 for selling cannabis.

”I cleaned up my life in the meantime, met a girl and settled down,” he says. ”I just didn’t get round to telling her. She wasn’t best pleased.”

Funny that…

Posted: 14th, August 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink