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Report: Prison guards not properly trained to deal with female prisoners

A report out this week calls for staff in women's prisons to receive better training and education.

Mies vankilan portilla.
Finnish prison staff lack training in dealing with women prisoners. Image: Antti Haanpää / Yle

Finnish prison guards lack training and knowledge of how best to deal with female prisoners, according to a new report out on Wednesday.

The report from the Criminal Sanctions Agency says that Finland lacks a proper structure for the handling of female prisoners, with a lack of training one of the key concerns.

Prisoners therefore run the risk of sexual harassment, and guards lack knowledge about how to deal with victims of trafficking, for instance.

"We should take a broad-based look at staff training, so that we expertise about handling different women," said Kaisa Tammi-Moilanen, a prison governor in Hämeenlinna and a joint author of the report.

Finland will open a new prison for women in November, but Tammi-Moilanen says investment needs to be made in staff training to make it work.

"It's sad that we are opening a women's prison, which is without doubt wonderful, but the staff have had no training at all in treating women in the way they need to be treated," said Tammi-Moilanen.

"For some reason this sector has been blind to the fact that this is not yet enough, there's a need for special skills in dealing with people too."

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