Norway considers using anti-spitting masks on problematic inmates

Monica MælandPhoto: Tor Erik Schrøder / NTB
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The Norwegian government is considering allowing prisons to use anti-spitting masks on inmates who act out by spitting on others.

The bill was sent to the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on Monday.

The fact that some inmates act out by spitting on prison employees, other inmates, or, for example, health personnel, is a growing problem in Norwegian prison care, according to a press release from the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry points out, among other things, that employees’ trade unions have demanded anti-spitting masks for the sake of a safe working environment.

Protecting people within prison walls

“Norwegian Correctional Service (Kriminalomsorgen) will protect everyone who is within the prison walls from being insulted by inmates who act out, and this proposal contributes to this (effort),” Minister of Justice Monica Mæland (H) pointed out.

Today, such anti-spitting equipment is used in police custody.

The proposal to allow it in prisons was up for consultation last year. However, several have been critical of the proposal.

Among other things, the Norwegian Bar Association (Den Norske Advokatforening) believes that wearing such a mask could be perceived as abuse, and that increased acting out among inmates could be related to issues such as low staffing.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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