The National Board of Institutional Care, Rällsögården ‘LVM’ home, is severely criticised for, among other things, shortcomings in the exercise of particular powers and for rules of conduct which imposed unlawful restrictions on an inmate’s use of his own laptop

Rällsögården ‘LVM’ home (a home for caring for substance abusers pursuant to the Care of Abusers (Special Provisions) Act (‘LVM’)) decided that a resident, AA, would be cared for in a lockable unit within the home. The Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that care in a lockable unit constitutes an interference with the inmate’s rights and freedoms. The need for legal certainty is particularly high in such decisions and it is of the utmost importance that the grounds on which the assessment was based are able to be identified. The Parliamentary Ombudsman is critical of the fact the current decision only contains a standard justification and that it is not possible to understand the home’s reasoning in AA’s case. The Parliamentary Ombudsman also concludes that the LVM home does not seem to have done any assessment of the proportionality of the action, which is a serious omission.

AA requested to be allowed to use his own laptop during his stay at the home. After his relatives delivered the laptop to him, the LVM home decided to confiscate it in order to search it at a later date. The purpose of the search was to investigate whether the laptop had been manipulated in any way or contained drugs.

Where property that an inmate is not permitted to possess is found, for example during a body search, this will be confiscated. The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that there is, however, no legal basis for the confiscation of property if the intention is to only later investigate whether it is prohibited. In the current case, the laptop was furthermore searched without a decision to conduct a body search having been taken, and there was no other basis in law for carrying out the action.

After AA got the laptop back, the LVM home developed rules of conduct on inmates using their own laptop. The rules of conduct, which seem to have only affected AA, essentially provide that an inmate may use their own laptop for two hours on weekdays. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, there was no basis for using general rules of conduct to restrict AA’s use of his laptop. The Parliamentary Ombudsman furthermore notes that decisions on specifically regulated powers, for example, restricting the right to use electronic means of communication, are associated with certain procedural safeguards. The Parliamentary Ombudsman underlines that rules of conduct may never be used as an alternative to taking such decisions.

The decision also contains statements about the handling of an appeal and the documentation in AA’s journal. In view of the scope of the errors and omissions, which the Parliamentary Ombudsman sets out in the decision, Rällsögården LVM home is severely criticised.

Date of decision: 2023-11-17