Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway visited on Thursday the high-security Bredtveit women’s prison and detention facility in Oslo. The prison is one of four prisons in Norway with only female prisoners.
During Queen Sonja’s very first visit to Bredtveit, she got to meet the prison’s management, staff and some of the inmates. The visit began with a presentation of the prison and its activities by prison leader, Doris Bakken and assistant prison leader, Siri Brock-Utne. In addition, prison priest, Elisabeth Kjetilstad gave an orientation on the art in the church.
Her Majesty also had a tour through the two of the living quarters, the working area and the newly renovated visiting rooms with recently completed artistic decoration. In the housing area and working area, the Queen met inmates who talked about their everyday life in prison.
Among several of the teachers at the prison, Queen Sonja met with hairdresser Laura during the Christmas visit to Bredtveit. The Cup’n Cut hair salon is run by inmates. The staff and inmates also showed the Queen how they work with art, design and crafts.
The prison visit lasted about an hour and a half and is part of an annual tradition established by the Queen. Once before Christmas each year, the Queen visits a place with disadvantaged users to show her support and put the light on important issues and challenges within the Norwegian society. Her Majesty the Queen has, in the previous years, also visited economically disadvantaged Norwegians as well as ethnic and religious minorities in different parts of Norway. Last year, she visited the children and youth department at Oslo’s largest hospital.
Bredtveit prison is located in the district of Groruddalen in Oslo, Norway’s capital, and has two wards distributed with 45 inmates in a high-security ward and 19 in a low-security ward. Bredtveit receives both custody, sentencing and detention inmates. The prison also works closely with the social services and several schools for adults to make the transition to life after imprisonment easier.