New Swedish forensic psychiatric facilities: visions and outcomes.
Journal article, 2013

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to map significant features of the physical design of nine recently planned facilities for forensic psychiatric care in Sweden. The present paper is focused on differences in the physical design, static security adaptations, visions and goals for the projects, economy and steering processes. Design/methodology/approach – In June 2008, records concerning major forensic psychiatric construction projects, planned or carried out between 1970 and 2008, were requested from all 21 regions in Sweden. The documents were collected, organized, critically examined, and analyzed in their contexts. Extensive data have also been retrieved from the internet. Findings – In spite of the common national legislation governing forensic psychiatric care, the projects show great diversity in the physical design and, after 2006, increasing emphasis on static security. The collected material indicates different visions and goals and little coordination between them. It also suggests that the decisions rarely have been preceded by scientific studies or, as it appears, systematic needs assessments. There were also considerable variations in the interpretation of the legislation stipulating public access to official documentation and the time-frame allowed for such requests. Research limitations/implications – Limitations of the project especially relate to the incompleteness of the documents received. Originality/value – This mainly descriptive paper provides an overview of contemporary Swedish forensic psychiatric construction projects, planned for or realized after 2000. This paper points out structural and physical differences between these projects. The systematised documents are made available for research purposes within different disciplines.

Social care facilities

Health care design


Forensic science


Care environment

Forensic psychiatry


Public documents


Morgan Andersson

University of Gothenburg

Christer Svennerlind

University of Gothenburg

Inga Malmqvist

Chalmers, Architecture, Building Design

Henrik Söderström

University of Gothenburg


0263-2772 (ISSN)

Vol. 31 1/2 24-38

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering


Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)



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