Isolation is one of the most intrusive tools a state can employ. Prolonged isolation is considered a form of torture, and even short-term isolation can harm both physical and mental health, increasing the risk of premature death. The high use of isolation in Norwegian prisons has been criticized by national and international human rights organizations for several decades.
Through prison registry data, we have information on isolation during incarceration, which has been routinely recorded by the correctional system since 2014. The isolation data covers more than 10,000 individuals and over 40,000 isolation incidents. This includes both isolation imposed by the court or the prison and isolation chosen by the inmate. Data from the prison registry provide us with information about aspects of the incarceration, including sentences, duration of confinement, security levels, and isolation, including the reasons for isolation and its duration.
In the PriSUD project, we aim to explore the use of isolation in Norwegian prisons and use our registry linkages to investigate risk factors for being isolated during incarceration and the resulting consequences. The project will contribute valuable new knowledge about the use of isolation, who is subjected to it, and the long-term health consequences.