Information for next-of-kin about the coronavirus situation
In line with other areas of society, the coronavirus pandemic has also had consequences for the Correctional Service and for FFP’s services for next-of-kin. Although most aspects are now almost back to normal, it is important to be familiar with the infection control rules that apply both to prisons and the FFP.
Measures in the prisons
In March, the Correctional Service implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in prisons. These included next-of-kin not being permitted to visit the prisons and inmates not being granted leave. From 22 June, several of the most invasive measures were lifted and the prisons’ day-to-day functioning is now much as it was before the pandemic.
Visits will now go ahead as normal in the prisons, but visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least one metre. The distance requirement does not apply to children under the age of 12. Before the visit, visitors will be interviewed about symptoms of the coronavirus based on an assessment form provided by the health authorities, and it will not be possible to go ahead with the visit if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection. It is not currently possible to spend the night in the visiting house/apartment. The rules for leave are also the same now as before the pandemic, both in relation to ordinary leave and compassionate leave.
The Correctional Service is following the situation carefully and is making ongoing assessments of the need to implement measures. Local measures may be implemented in areas with extensive infection as long as the coronavirus pandemic lasts.
When the prisons were closed this spring and next-of-kin were not permitted to visit, video visits between inmates and next-of-kin were offered at all Norwegian prisons. The prisons are continuing to offer this service as a supplement to visits in person. User guidelines for video visits are available in Norwegian and English at kriminalomsorg.no.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, FFP has been in close dialogue with the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service in order to provide good information to next-of-kin. The Directorate has established an information page containing relevant information for next-of-kin, inmates and staff. Click here to go to the information page (information in Norwegian and English).
The Correctional Service has also established a special phone line for next-of-kin. Its purpose is to provide general information about the Correctional Service’s measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons. You can also call the next-of-kin phone line to obtain information about what the measures entail for inmates, and not least to have someone to talk to at this difficult time. You can phone anonymously and the line is served Monday–Friday from 09.00 to 15.00. Tel. (+47) 404 388 88.
Activities and events at FFP during the coronavirus pandemic
The FFP cancelled all of its events and activities for next-of-kin during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic and instead, invited them to digital chats and events in addition to providing advice by phone, email and chat. We are now pleased that we can invite next-of-kin to physical meet-ups, activities and talks on our premises. We have implemented infection control measures. See more about this below. We comply with the authorities’ guidelines in connection with the coronavirus. If new measures and recommendations are implemented, it may affect our scheduled programme and services for next-of-kin.
If you do not want to make use of our services in person, it is still possible to have digital conversations with us. We have also extended our provision with ‘walk and talk’, where we offer conversations in the great outdoors while we go for a walk.
If you have questions about FFP’s services or just want someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You will find more information about FFP’s services in the programme on our website. Our phone line is serviced weekdays 9.00 – 15.30. We offer a chat service weekdays 9.00 – 16.00, and 9.00 – 20.00 on Thursdays.
If you are a next-of-kin with limited Norwegian skills and find it difficult to communicate in Norwegian, we can provide guidance meetings with an interpreter. The FFP has a minority advisor who especially focuses on the situation for next-of-kin from minority backgrounds, and who will help you if you need further assistance from other bodies.
The FFP wishes all next-of-kin and partners the very best at this special and challenging time.
Infection control measures at the FFP
To safeguard infection control considerations in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the following infection control measures apply to visits to the FFP’s premises and participation in activities organised by the FFP outside our premises.
- If you have symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat etc., you may not attend meetings, events or individual conversations on the FFP’s premises or take part in activities organised by the FFP outside our premises. If you nonetheless attend with such symptoms, we must unfortunately ask you to leave the activity. Individual conversations can alternatively be carried out by phone or as a video conversation, or you can schedule a new time for the meeting.
- We maintain a distance of at least one metre from each other, both in and outside our premises, and we do not shake hands.
- When you arrive at the FFP’s premises, please use the hand sanitiser located just by the door.
- Due to the coronavirus situation, limitations apply to how many people can take part in the FFP’s meetings and activities.
- Everyone who comes for a conversation or takes part in an activity, meeting or event organised by the FFP must provide their name and phone number so that we have an overview if someone becomes ill and there is a need for infection tracing.
We prioritise your and our health and safety. Thank you for helping us to limit the infection risk!
For general information about the coronavirus, see here:
Translation of this information is funded by Imdi.