Unilink’s self-service powers Norway’s largest prison

Norwegian Correctional Service - Kriminalomsorgen has selected Unilink, an award-winning UK company as a provider of prisoner self-service solution.
CEO of Unilink, Francis Toye commented, “Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, the lockdown and the prevention of travel to Norway since February we have managed to implement prisoner self-service for a new prison, in a new customer in a new country and on-time. This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the joint project working between the Kriminalomsorgen and Unilink.”

Fig. 1 Minister of Justice, Monica Mæland opened new Agder prison on Monday (photo: Kriminalomsorgen)

Minister of Justice, Monica Mæland opened new Agder prison on Monday. It will be the country's largest prison with a high level of security for men with a total of 300 places in Mandal and Froland.

“This is a huge step forward and boost for the correctional services. Initially, Norway has the world's best correctional services, but Agder prison facilitates criminal work in a whole new way," Minister of Justice and Emergency Services Monica Mæland told Fædrelandsvennen.

100 of the seats have been added to the 65-acre department in Mandal, while the remaining 200 places will be in the 95-acre section of Froland opening in September.

Minister Monica Mæland is very pleased. She believes the prison is innovative and provides rehabilitation combined with punishment. “The fact that the inmates can both shop for the food and make it themselves. That they can dispose of their own money and take education is very important.”

"Such a modern prison building provides better conditions for both inmates and employees. It facilitates a good content in the sentence." says Mæland in front of NRK.

The construction project has sought to take the correctional services a major step forward in digitisation. The inmates will have access to self-service services from Nav, the Tax Administration, the health care system and the municipality. They will also have the opportunity to communicate with relatives.

Fig. 2 Unilink's self-service kiosk delivering prisoner self-service from opening day (photo: Kriminalomsorgen)

"These solutions will provide more effective control of inmates and visitors. They are essential for the return of prisoners to society," says Mæland.

Tryggve Fosse, director of the Correctional Service in the southwest, believes the prison should be as close to normal life as possible.
"Self-service is an important principle when getting the best possible rehabilitation," says Fosse.

In the new Agder prison, new technology will make everyday life easier for both prisoners and employees, announced Kriminalomsorgen.

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, the project implementation was executed excellently, with a minor delay of only three weeks.

The first technological Unilink’s "kiosk" is installed in the Agder prison, Mandal department. The solution is called self-service for inmates and gives prisoners the opportunity to receive messages from employees and relatives. It will also be possible to send requests for, for example, medical time. Inmates will also get an overview of their own assets, bank balance and their own calendar. They want better control of visits and get useful information on the digital message board. Inmates will be able to use the self-service system both from the community departments and from their own cell.

Prison leader Frank Tveiten Johansen commented “First and foremost, the solution will give prisoners a better overview and control over their daily lives. In addition, they receive good digital learning. With several digital solutions available in the criminal justice system, we help create inmates who will do better in the digital community when released”, he says.

Fig. 3 Prison leader Frank Tveiten Johansen looks forward to using Unilink’s self-service solution for inmates in the new Agder prison (photo: Kriminalomsorgen)

Johansen also hopes that the self-service system will allow employees to spend more time with the inmates. “By allowing inmates to manage most of their daily lives, the time spent on administrative tasks is reduced”, he says.

Francis Toye – CEO of The Unilink Group: “We are thrilled to be working with one of the most advanced correctional services in the world. Unilink is delighted to be able to provide Kriminalomsorgen with a unique, modern, future-proof solution in line with their rehabilitative focus.”