At a youth home in Kalix with the highest security class, which is run by the State Board of Institutions (Sis), SVT Agenda meets a young man who has been sentenced to several years of closed youth care for a serious violent crime.

He goes to school at the prison and says he wants to leave the criminal life behind. 

- I think it's good here.

Why change something that works?   

The previous government already appointed an inquiry to look at how young people who commit serious crimes should serve their sentences.

Although the investigation is not yet complete, it is stated in the Tidö Agreement that youth prisons must be established.

How they will work is unclear.    

“Since there is no mission, we cannot say anything about how we would possibly solve it.

It will be a future question when and if the assignment will come," the Prison Service's press service tells SVT. 

Sis employee: "Has no protection at all"

Catrine Kaunitz at Sis is part of the investigation's expert group.

She believes that the group sentenced to closed youth care, around 60 young people per year, is too small a base for youth prisons.

She believes that it will rather be about wards at regular institutions. 

- The small group that is sentenced includes, among other things, girls, sex offenders, gang members who may threaten each other.

They cannot be in the same place.   

But critics believe that Sis cannot cope with the most criminal young people.

An employee at the home in Kalix says that there is great concern among staff about the gang youth.

- I have absolutely no protection at all, other than a mobile phone.

Should a young person jump on me, I at least have an opportunity.

But should three, four five, do it, I hope I'm aware long enough to even sound the alarm, says the employee. 

No one under the age of 18 in prisons

Already today, it is possible for courts to sentence children over 15 to prison, but special reasons are required.

No one under the age of 18 is currently in prison.

Criminologist Jerzy Sarnecki believes that Sis does not work so well for young people who commit serious crimes because they were able to escape and also continue to commit crimes inside institutions. 

- We need to lock up young people who commit the most serious crimes for a long time because it takes long efforts to get them to become well-functioning citizens again.

But the purpose of youth prisons must be some kind of institution that strives for the youth to be reintegrated into society.

Not only that they should be punished longer and harder, he says.