Swedish inmates ‘awash in drugs, guns and porn’

Many of Sweden's most dangerous convicts have access to illicit drugs, guns, and child pornography from inside the walls of psychiatric clinics where they are serving their sentences, newly released documents show.

Swedish inmates 'awash in drugs, guns and porn'
A psychiatric clinic in Huddinge south of Stockholm

The documents also reveal how inmates are involved in extensive crime rings running inside the walls of Sweden’s psychiatric clinics.

According to the the documents, obtained by Sveriges Television (SVT), inmates are involved in a wide rang of criminal activities mostly made possible by the inmates’ access to mobile phones and the internet.

The crimes, which have been estimated to number in the thousands over the past few years, have occurred in the four clinics located in Vadstena, Katrineholm, Sundsvall and Säter.

Since 2007, inmates have been legally authorized to use computers and telephones. But a physician may decide to shut down a patient for two months if they misbehave.

However, there is little to prevent an inmate who has had his or her rights suspended from using someone else’s internet or telephone.

“In practice it is an empty gesture. It’s insane,” Kenth Persson, director of the Karsudden forensic psychiatric clinic located near Katrineholm in central Sweden, told SVT.

“The truth is that we don’t control patients as a preventive measure. We’re not allowed to do it, so reasonably, we shouldn’t have any idea of what’s going on.”

In some cases, inmates have downloaded child pornography and have even been in contact with the children.

“The most difficult issue in our eyes is when patients contact minors”, said Jan Cedergren Borg,” director of the clinic in Vadstena.

Drug trafficking has been another major problem, as some inmates have even been using the internet to order drugs and have them delivered to them inside the clinics, with cannabis being a regular and popular option.

Some inmates have even had the audacity to organize meetings within the walls of the clinics with their dealers.

“It is totally unacceptable that it works this way. It is not reasonable. They are really serious criminals in there. The basic rule must be that they should not have phone or internet”, said Jerzy Sarnecki, a professor of criminology at Stockholm University, to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Sarnecki pointed out that on paper, the criminals are actually patients, as they have been sent for psychiatric treatment, not prison time – and this is why they have been allowed phones and internet.

However, he claims it the definition should not apply in these extreme cases.

“This is about murderers and sex offenders. So, things cannot continue like this. It is absolutely horrible,” he told the paper.

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EU greenlights €200M for Spain to bring super fast internet speeds to rural areas

Brussels has approved a plan which will bring high-speed broadband internet to the almost 1 in 10 people in Spain who live in underpopulated rural areas with poor connections, a way of also encouraging remote workers to move to dying villages. 

EU greenlights €200M for Spain to bring super fast internet speeds to rural areas
The medieval village of Banduxo in Asturias. Photo: Guillermo Alvarez/Pixabay

The European Commission has given Spain the green light to use €200 million of the funds allocated to the country through the Next Generation recovery plan to offer internet speeds of up to 300 Mbps (scalable to 1Gb per second) to rural areas with slow internet connections. 

According to Brussels, this measure will help guarantee download speeds of more than 100 Mbps for 100 percent of the Spanish population in 2025.

Around 8 percent of Spain’s population live in areas where speeds above 100Mbs are not available, mostly in the 6,800 countryside villages in Spain that have fewer than 5,000 inhabitants.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen plans to travel to Madrid on Wednesday June 16th to hand over to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez the approved reform plan for Spain. 

Back in April, Spain outlined its Recovery and Resilience plan aimed at revitalising and modernising the Spanish economy following the coronavirus crisis, with €72 billion in EU grants over the next two years.

This includes green investments in energy transition and housing, boosting science and technology education and digital projects such as the fast-speed internet project which aims to avoid depopulation in rural areas. 

It’s worth noting that these plans set out €4.3 billion for broadband internet and 5G mobile network projects in rural areas in Spain, so this initial investment should be the first of many.

Over the past 50 years, Spain’s countryside has lost 28 percent of its population as Spaniards left to find jobs in the big cities. 

The gap has been widening ever since, local services and connections with the developed cities have worsened, and there are thousands of villages which have either been completely abandoned or are at risk of dying out. 


How Spaniards are helping to save the country’s 4,200 villages at risk of extinction

rural depopulation spain

The pandemic has seen a considerable number of city dwellers in Spain move or consider a move to the countryside to gain space, peace and quiet and enjoy a less stressful life, especially as the advent of remote working in Spain can allow for this. 

Addressing the issue of poor internet connections is one of the best incentives for digital workers to move to the countryside, bringing with them their families, more business and a new lease of life for Spain’s villages.


Nine things you should know before moving to rural Spain