The Balkan state of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, will make money renting the prison in Gjilan to Denmark, 300 prison cells, to ease overcrowding in the Scandinavian country’s jails. That means Kosovo is due to receive a total of €210m over the next 10 years. Denmark will also help fund green energy in Kosovo. The rented cells are meant to house convicted criminals from non-EU countries due to be deported from Denmark after their sentences.
“[The agreement] will create space in our prisons and ease the pressure on our prison officers at the same time as it also sends a clear signal to third-country nationals sentenced to deportation: Your future does not lie in Denmark, and you must therefore not serve time here,” Danish Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement. “Deported convicts still be able to get visitors, although that will, of course, be difficult,” he added. Norway and Belgium have previously rented prison cells in the Netherlands. Since 2015, the number of inmates in Denmark has risen from 3,400 to 4,200, while the number of prison guards has declined from 2,500 to 2,000. The inmates will be sent to a prison in Gjilan , a town located some 50 kilometres from the capital Pristina, starting from 2023. Kosovo’s prison system has a capacity of up to 2,500 of which about 700-800 are still free.