Greenland needs a jail


Many are calling for a high-security jail in Greenland to reduce waiting lists and so offenders can be housed closer to home.

That’s because the number of offences committed in Greenland has risen by 20 per cent over the last couple of years, and convictions for violent crime are at a 30-year high. At the same time, 190 criminals are on a waiting list to serve time and some of them are waiting as long as 18 months for a jail cell to open.

One proposal would see Denmark’s next budget including a provision for a jail in Greenland.

“Something has to be done as soon as possible to solve the most acute problems with the justice system in Greenland, instead of just sitting back and awaiting the next major reform. The most recent case involving two adults charged with the sexual abuse of 30-plus children in Nuuk is a clear example of the need for a solution. I think the proposal for a secure unit in Greenland should be included in next year’s budget,” said Per Kaalund, a Danish MP.

Kaalund said the worst criminals in Greenland have to serve their sentences in Denmark, far from their families, which lessens their prospects for rehabilitation. A jail should be opened in Greenland as soon as possible, he said.

“It doesn’t require a great deal of imagination to envisage the consequences if, for example, a child were to be sexually abused then meet the perpetrator shortly afterwards because of an absurdly long waiting list,” he added.

Kaalund also said he thinks that legal rights in Greenland are threatened by the use of lay judges instead of trained judges in serious criminal trials.

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