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Spitfire15

Go to Prison in Norway.

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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1986002,00.html?hpt=T2

 

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By the time the trumpets sound, the candles have been lit and the salmon platters garnished. Harald V, King of Norway, enters the room, and 200 guests stand to greet him. Then a chorus of 30 men and women, each wearing a blue police uniform, launches into a spirited rendition of "We Are the World." This isn't cabaret night at Oslo's Royal Palace. It's a gala to inaugurate Halden Fengsel, Norway's newest prison.

 

Ten years and 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($252 million) in the making, Halden is spread over 75 acres (30 hectares) of gently sloping forest in southeastern Norway. The facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits. Unlike many American prisons, the air isn't tinged with the smell of sweat and urine. Instead, the scent of orange sorbet emanates from the "kitchen laboratory" where inmates take cooking courses. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," says Are Hoidal, the prison's governor. "We don't see any of this as unusual." (See the top 10 crime stories of 2009.)

 

Halden, Norway's second largest prison, with a capacity of 252 inmates, opened on April 8. It embodies the guiding principles of the country's penal system: that repressive prisons do not work and that treating prisoners humanely boosts their chances of reintegrating into society. "When they arrive, many of them are in bad shape," Hoidal says, noting that Halden houses drug dealers, murderers and rapists, among others. "We want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people." Countries track recidivism rates differently, but even an imperfect comparison suggests the Norwegian model works. Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%. Of course, a low level of criminality gives Norway a massive advantage. Its prison roll lists a mere 3,300, or 69 per 100,000 people, compared with 2.3 million in the U.S., or 753 per 100,000 — the highest rate in the world. (See the world's most influential people in the 2010 TIME 100.)

 

Design plays a key role in Halden's rehabilitation efforts. "The most important thing is that the prison looks as much like the outside world as possible," says Hans Henrik Hoilund, one of the prison's architects. 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-ft. (6 m) concrete security wall along the prison's perimeter — trees obscure it, and its top has been rounded off, Hoilund says, "so it isn't too hostile." (See the 25 crimes of the century.)

 

The cells rival well-appointed college dorm rooms, with their flat-screen TVs and minifridges. Designers chose long vertical windows for the rooms because they let in more sunlight. There are no bars. Every 10 to 12 cells share a living room and kitchen. With their stainless-steel countertops, wraparound sofas and birch-colored coffee tables, they resemble Ikea showrooms.

 

Halden's greatest asset, though, may be the strong relationship between staff and inmates. Prison guards don't carry guns — that creates unnecessary intimidation and social distance — and they routinely eat meals and play sports with the inmates. "Many of the prisoners come from bad homes, so we wanted to create a sense of family," says architect Per Hojgaard Nielsen. Half the guards are women — Hoidal believes this decreases aggression — and prisoners receive questionnaires asking how their experience in prison can be improved.

 

There's plenty of enthusiasm for transforming lives. "None of us were forced to work here. We chose to," says Charlott-Renee Sandvik Clasen, a music teacher in the prison and a member of Halden's security-guard chorus. "Our goal is to give all the prisoners — we call them our pupils — a meaningful life inside these walls." It's warmth like that, not the expensive television sets, that will likely have the most lasting impact.

 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1986002,00.html?hpt=T2#ixzz0mne6mS6B

 

Its been mentioned around here but I dont care. Heres a thread.

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curious.

 

be interesting in a generation or so to go back and check on long term inmates from this place and see the rates of repeat offending once inegrated into society.

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Intresting read.

 

Sounds like it could be a good documentary, especially if made by an indie film maker.

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i used to work for DYS in missouri and we followed similar philosophy, though with a much lower budget and a smaller area, one building not a campus. we didn't carry guns, inmates wore their own clothes, no handcuffs, no cells... they all stayed in one room with bunkbeds, staff and kids went by first names. they were divided into 3 dorm groups of 12 maximum clients. we focused on therapy and had a level program of increasingly serious therapy to get to the root of their problems. staff-client relationships were VERY important in preventing/resolving problems, and sometimes therapy got really fucking raw and emotional. i think if the system is followed, it works. i quit because i thought the management at my specific facility was trying to be stricter than policy permitted.

 

now i work at a residential facility for teenagers, much lower security, more of a psychological focus. a lot more problems here.. but this place is full of the kind of annoying weirdo kids that got beat up by the gangsterers at the other place and they all annoy the shit out of each other. similar dorn situation except they have rooms and call me "mr." still most important to develop a relationship with them to get them to listen to you.

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these threads are more for crossfire dont ya think?

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quoting a friend on norwegian jail

 

"Ive paid for worse hotels than jail in Scandanavia, you get your own room, a telephone, a private shower and vegetarian food, the guard ladies are hot and feel bad for you".

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people get locked up more in america because asides from bieng a huge industry our elites believe in malthusian population control.

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Trivia:

 

Varg means wolf in Norwegian.

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