By Jeyhun Aliyev
ANKARA (AA) - Denmark decided to rent some 300 prison cells in Kosovo to relieve congested jails, the government announced late Wednesday.
The rented prison cells are for inmates "from third countries" who are set to be deported at the end of their jail sentence.
The Danish government's new agreement for the penitentiary – backed by the right-wing populist Danish People's Party, the Socialist People's Party, and the center-right Conservative People's Party – also includes expanding the prison capacity in Denmark by "several hundred" places, according to a statement by the Justice Ministry.
The new multi-year agreement aiming to ensure the restoration of the penitentiary system also foresees improvement of the conditions for prison officers to better attract and retain them at their positions.
"At the same time, in future, prisoners must be met with an approach of right and duty, where those who want a life without crime are given a helping hand, while those who oppose the system must be met with consequence," it said.
The Prison and Probation Service of Denmark is currently challenged by both the lack of prison places and prison officers, the statement added.
The government also announced a funding boost of 4 billion Danish krone ($607 million) for "new initiatives."
The Scandinavian country will be short of up to 1,000 places in the prison estate by 2025, Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in the statement.
The inmate population has climbed by almost a fifth since 2015, reaching over 4,000 at the beginning of 2021, more than 100% of capacity.
"We are expanding with more prison places in Danish prisons in both the short and long term," Haekkerup said.
He also said they working to ensure better working conditions and training for prison officers and strengthen security in jails.
It is unclear why the choice fell on Kosovo but according to the University of London's watchdog World Prison Brief, Kosovo had 1,642 prisoners as of July 2020, while the occupancy level of prisons was 97.1% in 2019.
It is known that Norway and Belgium have previously rented prison cells in the Netherlands to ease overcrowding.