from left: Brie Williams, Gry Rabe Henriksen and Kim Ekhaugen

A captivating collaboration – marked by a delegation visit from the Norwegian Correctional Service

A Norwegian delegation led by Director Kim Ekhaugen from the International Unit of the Norwegian Correctional Service, is visiting California and Oregon. The delegation had meetings with California government officials in Sacramento, and will also be visiting prisons in California and Oregon. The reason for their visit is their part in Amend, a prison reform program led by University of California San Francisco (UCSF), where the focus is on health for both employees and inmates, and on rehabilitation.

| San Francisco

A distinctive feature of Amend's work is the focus on the health of employees and especially correctional officers. US correctional officers are overrepresented in a number of statistics on health challenges compared to other comparable occupational groups, including an average life expectancy of 59 years. Through the focus on the employees' health, the idea is that the inmates will also experience a positive change.

Amend works closely with the Norwegian Correctional Service, and offers several programs based on the Norwegian penitentiary system with humanistic principles and individual adaptation.
The program aims to change culture in selected prisons in the partner states - currently California, Oregon, North Dakota, Minnesota and Washington - through a focus on values and principles that are core to the Norwegian correctional service. Several other states, including New York, Idaho, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, have also initiated reform work based on experiences from the program and visits to Norway.

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is among the American politicians who have focused on correctional services and the need for a prison reform, and pointed to Norway as a role model in the area. Governor Newsom met with the delegation when he visited Valley State Prison on Tuesday.

Handshake between correctional officer and inmate

Photo: Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.