General Director, Hans Meurisse, in the Belgian Justice Department wishes to implement the Balanced Scorecard tool (BCS) throughout the entire Belgian Correctional Services. In this connection, he had brought with him 17 key persons in order to show them how BCS functions at Oslo Prison. One of the most important prerequisites when implementing BCS is that the concept is well rooted in management. Judging by the enthusiasm expressed by our visitors during their visit, they are already well on the way to implementing BCS.
During the tour of the establishment, one of the first things to be commented was that everywhere was so clean and tidy. Full compliments to our cleaning boys! The Belgian team were also surprised by the presence of so many specialist departments. In Oslo Prison most of the inmate residential departments are dedicated units for special target groups, and the skills sets of the officers have been strengthened within each specialist area. The Personal Officer scheme was also new to them. It was mentioned that Belgian prison officers were more concerned with security issues and felt it was the task of the social workers to take care of most other issues. For those of us who have served in the Norwegian Correctional Services (Prison Service) for quite some time, this was a familiar problem we experienced some years ago.
Another remarkable difference is that there is no queue of persons waiting to serve their prison sentences. The explanation lies in the fact that they are duty bound to receive all convicted persons. The way this is solved is to place more inmates in each cell, in worst cases on mattresses on the floor. Our visitors were far from satisfied with this arrangement, but explained there was little they could do about it since this was a legal right.