Skip to content

Lännen media: Prison staff face systematic violence

Guards accused Finland's Criminal Sanctions Agency and prison authorities of indifference.

According to Lännen Medi, guards at Riihimäki Prison known for its gang violence continue to be the biggest targets. Image: Jaani Lampinen / Yle

Prison staff in Finland are subjected to systematic violence, Lännen media group’s publications reported on Saturday.

In less than two years, 17 prison guards have been targets of assaults that have been linked to organised crime, the media group said. The most recent violence took place on Tuesday when a prisoner threw hot oil on two guards in a closed prison.

According to the report, guards at Riihimäki Prison continue to be the biggest targets — one in 10 have been reportedly assaulted.

The news group said its information is based on government sources and documents, and information from criminals, such as the infamous United Brotherhood gang.

Guards: Prison authorities indifferent

Lännen media interviewed 32 guards for the report — a third of the supervisory staff at Riihimäki Prison. The guards made several serious allegations regarding the activities of Finland's Criminal Sanctions Agency (Rise) and Riihimäki Prison.

All but one of the interviewees said their employer didn’t care for the safety, health, and life of the staff.

The guards said that the agency and Riihimäki Prison authorities are reluctant to crack down on organised crime and violence against guards. They told Lännen Media that if organised crime within prisons is not tackled, it will only grow in strength outside of prisons too.

Director general of Rise Arto Kujala and Riihimäki Prison director Pasi Oksa denied allegations of indifference and said that they a lot has been invested in security recently.