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Inadequate health care

A large number of suicide attempts, frequent use of isolation and lack of psychiatric follow-up: The health service at Trandum faces both concern and criticism.

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

When the Mousavi family was picked up by the police from their home in Fredrikstad one night in August to be transported to Afghanistan, the eldest son Javid (16) had an anxiety attack during the transport to Trandum. On the phone from Afghanistan, he tells Ny Tid about the treatment he received from the police:

"They put me on an insulation cell and asked me to take off all my clothes including underwear. It was very uncomfortable to be seen naked by so many cops, but I had no choice, so I did, ”says the 16 year-old.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-16-46-19After hours at the isolation cell, he was taken to a doctor outside Trandum. Here he grabbed a picture, shattered the frame, and used the pieces of glass to try to take his own life.

'I cut my throat and wrist. I was stitched and taken back to Trandum. Here I was put on an insulation cell, but this time I had to keep my underwear on, ”says Javid.

He was not allowed to meet his parents until the following day at Gardermoen, when the family was to be transported. Neither should the parents have been informed about the incident, or that the son received medical assistance outside the boarding school.

Many suicide attempts. According to the Civil Ombudsman's report from a visit they made to Trandum in May 2015, there had been 18 suicide attempts or self-harm episodes at the boarding school over a year – from 2014 until the visit.

The health service at Trandum has been the subject of criticism from supervisory authorities, lawyers and organizations with knowledge of the conditions at the boarding school. Several of the sources Ny Tid has spoken to express particular concern about the lack of mental health services.

Attorney Zulifkar Munir has had several clients at Trandum and believes the situation is unsustainable. “The Norwegian authorities have no idea what it means to sit on Trandum and what the consequences are. The inmates are sent out without Norway having any routines to follow them up. This makes it virtually impossible for inmates to complain about treatment, including the one they receive from health care professionals, "says Munir, pointing out:" While prisons have custody, there are no offers for those who have been sitting at Trandum. "

Last year, two of his clients attempted suicide while in the boarding school. One of them took a long time to transport out, and he thus remained in the boarding school for a long time after the suicide attempt. He was not offered a psychologist, despite the lawyer's repeated attempts to provide him with psychological help. When he tried to take his own life once more, he was put in solitary confinement. According to what the lawyer describes as a long battle with the health personnel at Trandum, the inmate received a statement that he was not in good health to be incarcerated at the boarding school.

"There is a low threshold for the use of solitary confinement in Trandum – far lower than in ordinary prisons. My client was isolated in the absence of adequate health care. This form of isolation is classified as torture when it lasts for a long time. He was later sent to Ringerike High Security Prison, which is one of the strictest in Norway. He was not transferred due to criminal offenses, but because Trandum was unable to handle him. According to him, the conditions were far better at the high-security prison he was transferred to, "says Munir.

"There is a low threshold for the use of solitary confinement in Trandum – far lower than in ordinary prisons."

Known that health care fails. The use of solitary confinement or security cells at Trandum has been discussed in several audit reports from various bodies, and has also been criticized on the basis of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

facsimile new time
Facsimile from Ny Tid April 2016. Pictured is the family who was forcibly deported

Anne-Lise Kristensen at the Patient and User Ombudsman in Oslo and Akershus knows that inmates at Trandum should not have received the health care they are entitled to: "Our experience is that it is difficult for the inmates to complain," says Kristensen. "The question is how well informed the inmates are about their rights – both to health care and to complain about inadequate follow-up," she says.

Who's in charge? In order to ensure independence for health services for prisoners in Norwegian prisons, the responsibility for health services in Norwegian prisons was transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Health in 1988. However, Trandum is under the Police Immigration Unit (PU), and is thus regulated by the Regulations for the Police Immigration Boarding School. In 2008, a supervisory board was established to receive complaints from the inmates.

According to the head of the Supervisory Board, Cathrine Fossen, it is not their job to assess how the health service at Trandum is organized: «If we receive complaints about the health service, we take this further with the nurses who are employed by PU. We have received complaints that some inmates have reported wishes to see a doctor, but that they have not been called in anyway. This has turned out not to be the case, "says Fossen.

How do you know it's not true?

"After each visit, we send in a report and complaints to the health personnel who are employed by the police. They can review how many times the individual inmate has asked for health care, "she says, and adds:" I do not see it as our mandate to report to the county doctor. "screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-17-03-51

General manager of Legetjenester A / S and doctor at Trandum Gunnar Fæhn says that isolation cells are only used when it is strictly necessary:

"If a person is considered to be capable of harming himself or herself or others, the law allows them to be isolated. No one is in a security cell for more than two days. We otherwise use emergency psychiatric services in serious cases, "says Fæhn.


Also read the main thing: Xenophobic asylum doctor at Trandum and our grave case from April 2016 about the woman who spontaneously aborted was handcuffed and dressed naked at Trandum.

Carima Tirillsdottir Heinesen
Former journalist for MODERN TIMES.

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