Norwegian government proposes law changes to allow one-man psychiatric hospitals, strict control of political prisoners in psychiatric institutions
Verdens Gang (VG) reports that Health Minister, Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen (Labor), has submitted a new law proposal for hearing rounds. In the new law proposal, the Labor coalition government proposes major changes to the rights and treatment of citizens committed by the court system to psychiatric care.
The proposed changes to the psychiatric healthcare law (psykisk helsevernloven), which appears tailor-suited for political prisoners, would allow for the creation of special high-security psychiatric institutions. “We open for the establishment of health facilities with particularly high-security, but where the main focus shall be treatment,” Strøm-Erichsen told VG.
According to the new law proposal, it would be legal to construct a psychiatric hospital for a single person. It would also be possible to place such a one-man psychiatric hospital inside an existing prison. In addition, the new law would make it legal for high-security psychiatric hospitals to search patients’ belongings, read their mail, and control phonecalls and visits, writes VG.
According to VG, the government has proposed a rapid time schedule for the hearing so that the new law can be approved by parliament before the verdict against Anders Behring Breivik is ready. Strøm-Erichsen, however, claims that the new law is not created specifically for Breivik. “This is not a special law for this [court] case, but shall be a general possibility for people that need extra hight security around them,” Strøm-Erichsen said to VG.
The Government will establish a high-security hospital, which can accommodate Anders Behring Breivik – if he is sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care.
An entirely fresh bill allows for such a short hospitalization can be built inside the walls of Ila Prison….
The government would not build a hospital just Breivik, but also for other particularly dangerous psychotic persons sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care….
High security hospital will have far greater powers than psychiatry has had to date, among other things, to examine the patients, checking personal belongings, and to check mail, visitors and telephones.
Original article: Regjeringen vil bygge Breivik-sykehus
Hearing document – in Norwegian [opens pdf].
[post title edited 03/23/12]
[second paragraph edited 03/26/12]