Norway’s ‘Solitary Confinement’ That Couldn’t Happen Here


The National Prisoners Newspaper

26th July 2011 – No Embargo

Anders Behring Breivik – The Solitary Confinement That Would Be Illegal Here

Norway, for all its claim to respect for human rights, imposed four weeks of solitary confinement on the alleged mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik, which would be illegal in UK prisons says Mark Leech, Editor of Converse, the national prisoners’ newspaper.

Mr Leech said:  “Neither judges nor magistrates have any power to stipulate what happens to a prisoner once they arrive at the jail, that is for the prison Governor to decide; not even the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke, could order a Governor to put a prisoner in solitary confinement; it would be illegal.

“In England and Wales solitary confinement of a prisoner, known technically here as Cellular Confinement – or ‘CC’- can only happen after the prisoner has been found guilty of a disciplinary offence in the jail, but even then the absolute maximum, no matter how many charges he has been found guilty of, is three weeks – and even that is subject to the assessment of a medical officer who can call it off at any time.

“What’s more, even when a prisoner is undergoing ‘CC’ he is still entitled to visits from his solicitor, is he not stopped from receiving or writing letters, and even his family visits should not ordinarily be postponed if he is on CC unless there are good grounds for doing so.”



1. Converse is the national monthly newspaper for prisons in England and Wales, published by Prisons org uk Limited, ( it has a circulation of around 60,000 copies.

2. Its editor is Mark Leech (

3. Contact Mark Leech: 08450 660011