The Scandinavian Solitary Confinement Network
The Scandinavian Solitary Confinement Network (SSCN) will work to critically examine and increase the knowledge about solitary confinement in Scandinavian prisons.
Solitary confinement is a very strong sanction which is used routinely in Scandinavian prisons. Photo: Børge Helstrøm, Flickr.
About the project
Solitary confinement is characterized by prisoners spending 22 to 24 hours a day alone in their cell, with very limited access to meaningful social interaction. Solitary confinement is a drastic intervention which goes far beyond the already severe limitations that follow from ordinary deprivation of liberty.
Scandinavian isolation practices raise a number of questions regarding prisoner rights and the effects of solitary confinement. The negative health effects of such practices are well documented in scientific literature. Furthermore, prisoners’ families can also be greatly affected by the use of solitary confinement, especially children. Nevertheless, solitary confinement is used routinely and in many different ways in Scandinavian prisons.
SSCN will contribute to maintain a critical focus on all solitary confinement practices in prisons and other places of confinement. In our view this issue is not granted sufficient attention – although Scandinavian isolation practices raise a number of very important questions with regard to prisoners’ health, prisoners’ rights and the rights of their family members.
SSCN seeks primarily to gather people and organizations interested in solitary confinement in Scandinavian countries. The network is open to researchers, students, government officials, prisoners, prison staff, attorneys, police and prosecutors, judges, health professionals, relevant NGOs and others who may have an interest in the use and effects of solitary confinement.
SSCN meet twice a year. Members are encouraged to exchange information through an email list between our meetings.
Through seminars, conferences, meetings and public performances, we want to strengthen the exchange of relevant information, and thus raise the level of knowledge in this area - with regard to research, practical prison work, government, policies, media and the rest of the civil society.
SSCN is managed by the Department of Criminology and Sociology at the University of Oslo. The network is coordinated by a steering committee:
- Marte Rua (contact person) – PhD Candidate at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo
- Thomas Horn – PhD Candidate at the Department for Public and International Law, University of Oslo
- Peter Scharff Smith – Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen