Bridge the gap to society

In Norway, we already have a strong focus on reintegration. Yet, we have seen a trend during recent years, where new prisons are located at far distance from society. What are the consequences of such a development? How easy is it to prepare for release at large distance?

Guest speakers

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Johan Lothe is the Managing Director of Wayback, an organisation which supports current and formerly incarcerated people with their reintegration in society. He has many years of experience with the prison system, both through his work with reintegration and through lived experience. Johan also sits on a number of different councils and committees, amongst others at the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service and the Norwegian Directorate of Health, where he represents and safeguards the user perspective and inmates’ rights.

Every prison needs to be close to where I live, close to where I need to learn to become a new person, and I can't learn to be a new person out in nowhere.

Elli Graf is the Managing Director of Elevator, which is a small-scale facility located in Oslo – housing up to 30 inmates at the end of their sentence. The Norwegian Execution of Sentences Act §12 provides the opportunity for inmates in some cases to carry out the sentence in an institution. Elevator is one such §12 institution, run by the Salvation Army. Their goal is for all residents to be released to a safe home, a meaningful job, predictable finances and with a positive network around them. In addition to being the Managing Director of Elevator, Elli has a master’s degree in social entrepreneurship. She works closely with politicians in the ministries, to ensure better conditions for people who are incarcerated. She has also been active in the public debate, where she has argued for the importance of enabling safe returns.

While Norwegians urbanize towards the big cities, Norwegian prisons migrate out.

Anna-Sabina is a social worker, and is currently completing a PHD in mental health and substance-addiction at the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN). She has many years of experience working in municipal agencies, specialising in substance-addiction and mental health. Through this work, she has assisted many people who are or have been released from prison as well as collaborated with the Norwegian Correctional Service on matters of reintegration.

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