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Justice Minister brushes off prison porn purge

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Justice Minister brushes off prison porn purge
Norwegian Justice Minister Grete Faremo. File photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix
10:39 CEST+02:00
Bergen prison staff want to ban inmates from watching pornography in their cells, but Norway's justice minister is reluctant to outlaw the practice as porn is legal in Norway. One MP said the hit TV series True Blood could easily be deemed pornographic if guards were given censorial powers.

"You can't forbid the prisoners' access to pornography as long as the content of that pornography is legal," Justice Minister Grete Faremo stated in her reply to the Bergen prison staff.

Union representative Haakon Mjelde is not, however, happy with the brush-off from the minister. 

"Staff don't want to be subjected to situations where people are watching porn," he told the NRK news network.

"It is absolutely uncomfortable and something that the employees should not have to be subjected to."

Christian Democrat MP Kjell Ingolf Ropstad supports the staff's call for a ban. He underlined that some inmates are serving sentences for rape and sexual abuse, and said he felt it was inappropriate to let sex crime offenders have access to pornographic material. 

The justice minister did concede in her reply to the union that exceptions could be made in the case of certain individuals, if accessing porn threatened order and security in the prison. 

Norway has a "normality principle" in its corrective services, which entails that inmates should as far as possible be given access to a normal life. 

While the prison staff have the backing of the Christian Democrat Party, the Labour Party said that attempts to purge prisons of porn were unrealistic. 

"Should the staff go through every film and decide what is erotic and what is porn?" Labour Party MP Tove Lise Torv asked NRK.

"In that case, how do you define True Blood?" 

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