1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
A prisoner looks through a window of a Danish prison
Denmark is also constructing a new high-security prisonImage: Ritzau Scanpix/imago images

Denmark to ship prisoners off to Kosovo

Darko Janjevic
December 15, 2021

The Danish government will rent prison cells in Kosovo to house 300 inmates in a bid to reduce overcrowding. The measure will be limited to prisoners who were already set to be deported out of Denmark.


Denmark is reforming its prison system with a 4-billion-Danish-krone ($607 million, €538 million) funding boost for "new initiatives," the country's government announced on Wednesday.

One of the initiatives will see the Scandinavian country pay Kosovo to house 300 prison inmates. The Danish government said the measure targets "foreigners sentenced to deportation" who were due to be expelled out of Denmark once they complete their sentences. The agreement was backed by several parties across the political spectrum before being announced by the Danish Justice Ministry on Twitter.

Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup described the funding hike as "historic" but only a first step in "a long, hard struggle" to rebalance the Danish prison service.

"At the same time, we are ensuring better working conditions for our prison officers, who have been carrying a very heavy burden for a number of years," he said.

Denmark to get tough with new prison

The wealthy EU nation struggles with overpopulated prisons, with its prison population growing 19% since 2015. It currently houses over 4,000 prisoners in the nation of 5.8 million people. At the same time, the number of prison wardens is shrinking, and the country is expected to have a shortfall of 1,000 places by 2025.

On Wednesday, Danish government said it was constructing a new high-security prison for hardened criminals. The reforms will also see badly behaved prisoners suffer harsher consequences if they assault or threaten prison staff or other prisoners.

Most prisoners in Denmark currently serve their sentences in the so-called open prisons. These facilities house people sentenced to five years or less, and allow inmates to wear their own clothes and cook their own meals. Many of the prisons do not have a classic security perimeter comprised of fences and turrets. The inmates also get frequent visits and can request a temporary leave.

The AFP news agency contributed to this report.

Edited by: Farah Bahgat

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

UN Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York

Ukraine updates: Russia takes UN Security Council presidency

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage