Severe criticism of the Prison and Probation Service, Kumla Prison, for its reaction when the Parliamentary Ombudsman wanted to contact an inmate; also questions regarding the examination of post

A case officer at the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s office tried to contact an inmate at Kumla Prison by telephone in relation to certain information in his complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen. At the prison’s request, the case officer sent an e-mail about this. After the inmate requested to call back the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s office, the prison refused the phone call, but later changed its mind and allowed it. A telephone conversation between the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the inmate was subsequently listened to by Prison and Probation Service staff.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that the Parliamentary Ombudsmen office is part of the constitutional protection of individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms and that it is self-evident that the Parliamentary Ombudsmen should be allowed to conduct individual interviews with persons deprived of their liberty as part of their supervisory duties. She is very critical of the prison’s management of the situation which meant the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s ability to interview a detainee was initially restricted.

In the decision, it is further stressed that the scope for the Prison and Probation Service to listen in to telephone conversations between the Parliamentary Ombudsmen and the detainee is basically non-existent. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, it is unthinkable that the authority being reviewed itself has the freedom to monitor conversations about potential shortcomings at that authority. The Parliamentary Ombudsman considers it wholly unacceptable that such a phone call is listened to and Kumla Prison receives serious criticism for what occurred.

In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman also makes a statement on the prison’s management of outgoing post.

Date of decision: 2024-02-14