The implementation and impact of the ULTimate PENalty in Norway (ULTPEN)

Research project

The implementation and impact of the ULTimate PENalty in Norway (ULTPEN)


ULTPEN is a project on indefinite preventive detention (forvaring) – the ULTimate PENalty in Norway.

Key research questions

  1. What is the ultimate penalty in Norwegian law?
  2. Who is sentenced to serve the ultimate penalty in Norway?
  3. What is it like to serve the ultimate penalty in Norway?

The overarching aim of ULTPEN is to address these research questions to provide the first comprehensive assessment of the use and impact of indefinite preventive detention in Norway.

To address the first question, the research team will carry out a detailed study of legal and policy documents about the development and use of indefinite preventive detention in Norway.

To address the second question, a comprehensive national database of all prisoners serving preventive detention will be constructed. There will be information on the characteristics of every person who has been sentenced to indefinite preventive detention in Norway since it was first imposed in 2002. Data will also be collected on individuals after they have been released back into the community.

To address the third question, interviews will be carried out with prisoners who are currently serving indefinite preventive detention sentences in prisons across Norway. These interviews will provide a unique perspective on the experiences of people who are subject to indefinite preventive detention, and the impact of this type of ultimate penalty on individual lives.

In sum, ULTPEN will be the first national study on the implementation and impact of the ultimate penalty in Norway. The findings will be compared against what we know about international trends in the use of long-term and life imprisonment globally.

The research project is funded by The Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO) for four years from 2021-25.


  1. KRUS - Kriminalomsorgens høgskole og utdanningssenter
  2. SIFER - Nasjonalt kompetansesenternettverk i sikkerhets-, fengsels- og rettspsykiatri, Norway
  3. prisonHEALTH - Prisons, health and societies research, University of Nottingham, UK
  4. Wayback - arbeider for innsattes tilbakeføring til samfunnet, Norway

Associated projects

  1. Life Imprisonment Worldwide
  2. Drap i Norge 1955-1982, en kriminologisk-historisk studie (SIFER) | Homicides in Norway 1955-1982: A Study Based on a Private Archive (CRIStin)
  3. FOSTREN - Fostering and Strengthening Approaches to Reducing Coercion in European Mental Health Services (COST Action 19133)
  4. DIMENSIONS, a five-year project on criminal insanity and psychosis
  5. Prisoner Health in Healthy Prisons, University of Oslo (UiO)
14 Mar 2023

gruppebilde ULTPEN