Overweight inmate sues Swedish prison

prisonAn obese inmate at the southern Swedish prison of Karlskrona has submitted an official request for monetary damages because the prison authorities were not able to give him suitable clothing to fit his larger-than-average body.

Fredrik Hellman has been serving time for serious tax offenses since January 2009, but became a thorn in the side of prison officials at Karlskrona after he grabbed the attention of the media in April, complaining that the prison would not provide him with suitable clothing.

Weighing in at 160 kilograms, Hellman has applied to the Chancellor of Justice (the highest legal representative in Sweden) for SEK 20,000 in compensation. According to The Local, Hellman is claiming “mental suffering” over the lack of proper clothes.

His complaint details how prison officials only gave him t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms that were not nearly warm enough to handle the Swedish winter weather. Hellman argues that the prison only took him seriously when the local media took an interest in his case.

“As I did not have a jacket I was freezing whenever I went out into the recreation area and I have also sustained a cold. I feel violated,” Fredrik Hellman said to Sveriges Radio.

His girth is such that standard prison attire simply does not fit him. He was denied the right to wear his own private clothing, prompting the letter of complaint. Stefan Nilsson of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service now regrets not dealing with the issue sooner. “With the benefit of hindsight we should perhaps have taken another decision,” he told Sveriges Radio.

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