Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Norwegian mass killer to get 'humane' treatment

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OSLO, Norway -- Those expecting Anders Behring Breivik to spend the rest of his days alone in a cramped cell will be disappointed when the far-right fanatic receives his sentence Friday for killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage last year.

If declared insane, the confessed killer will be the sole patient of a psychiatric ward that Norway built just for him, with 17 people on staff to treat him.

If found mentally fit, he will remain isolated for now in the high-security prison where he uses three 86-square-foot cells: a bedroom, an exercise room and a study.

Officials at Oslo's Ila Prison say the plan would be to eventually transfer Breivik to a section with other prisoners who have access to a school that teaches primary-grade to university-level courses, a library, gym, work in the prison's various shops and other leisure activities.

It's all about a philosophy of humane prison treatment and rehabilitation that forms the bedrock of the Scandinavian penal system.

"This is about creating a humane prison regime," said Ellen Bjercke, a spokeswoman for Ila (EE-luh) Prison.

A psychiatric ward was built in case Breivik is declared criminally insane. It cost between two million and three million kroner ($340,000-$510,000), according to Norway's Health Ministry. Bjercke estimated the cost of keeping Breivik there at seven million to 10 million kroner a year ($1.2 million to $1.7 million).

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 23, 2012 A9

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