Biker gangs own Danish jails
DANISH BIKE GANGS: Prison wardens in Denmark have claimed it's been difficult maintaining control at their institutions because of bike gang inmates.
Bike gangs in Denmark have made prisons ungovernable after taking control and causing mayhem for wardens,the prison officers' union said Tuesday, September 4 2012.
Chairman of the Danish Prison Officers Association, Kim Oesterbye said: "Prison officers are intimidated both inside and outside the prison. These are mentally very strong inmates, with large networks outside the prison."
"We have been surprised at just how strong these prisoners are and the type of resources that are necessary to keep them in check."
Oesterbye mentioned physical attacks, intimidation and stones thrown through the windows of prison officers' homes as incidents which were prison-related.
Prison problems with gangs have increased following a national police campaign to crack down on gangsterism.
According to figures from the Prison Officers Association, there were just over 350 gang members in Danish prisons as of January 2012.
Oesterbye said the campaign against biker gangs "is a good one as it gets them off the streets.
"But basically all we have done is to create a clubhouse in prison," he added, saying the Danish system of larger prisoner units was the root of the problem.
"Our units are for about 20 prisoners. We put these inmates into a group of the general prison population, which they then take over. They decide who does what, how and when. And with only one or two prison officers you do not have the capacity to change things," he said.
A recent survey of prison officers found seven out of 10 were in a situation with a biker where they weren’t able to resolve a situation as they would have liked, and many officers felt threatened.
Oesterbye said the only way to halt the problem was to incarcerate inmates in smaller groups, away from the rest of the prison population.