Prisoners In Norway are Treated Like Kings

The £15 million Halden Prison took 10 years to build and has been touted as the most humane in the world for its 252 inmates. Prison authorities claim the luxury environment of the 75-acre site helps reduce the country’s already very low crime rate. Each inmate gets a private cell with mini-fridge, flat-screen TV and even a private en-suite bathroom and barless windows – because they let in more sunlight. Then for every 12 to 15 rooms there is a top-spec kitchen with stainless steel work tops and lounge areas complete with IKEA-style sofas and coffee tables. To cap-off their stay at Halden the prisoners are also able to use a gym, complete with rock-climbing wall, a music studio, and a luxury library.

Architect Hans Henrik Hoilund said Holden was designed to ensure prisoners did not re-offend.”The most important thing is that the prison looks as much like the outside world as possible,” he said.”To avoid an institutional feel, exteriors are not concrete but made of bricks, galvanized steel and larch; the buildings seem to have grown organically from the woodlands.”And while there is one obvious symbol of incarceration – a 20-foot concrete security wall along the prison’s perimeter – trees obscure it. “And it’s top has been rounded off, so it isn’t too hostile.” The Norwegian artist Dolk was also hired to paint a £1 million mural on the prison wall showing a prisoner in striped uniform using a ball and chain as a shot put. In Norway only one in five prisoners end up back in jail after release, compared to between 50 and 60 percent in the UK.

Check out the rock climbing wall at the back!