A special section of the Skogome prison in Gothenburg has been opened to house asylum seekers who have been denied refugee status in Sweden and are set to be deported.
“Those we’ve taken from the Migration Board are those they can’t deal with because they are too complicated; they are acting up or desperate,” Christer Isaksson, head of security with the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården), told Sveriges Radio (SR).
Previously, rejected asylum seekers have been housed in remand centres where they were often isolated and had limited access to telephones or visitors.
The facility opening up at the Gothenburg prison, which is expected to have space for seven people, was touted as an improvement by prison officials.
But the Migration Board’s decision to hand responsibility for rejected asylum seekers to the Swedish prison system doesn’t sit well with officials at human rights group Amnesty.
“It’s not right for people who haven’t been convicted or suspected of a crime to be placed in a prison environment,” Amnesty’s Madelaine Seidlitz told SR.
Migration officials contend, however, that they are unable to guarantee the safety of the individuals to be housed in the prison.