12 May 2010

Norway's Incredibly Luxurious Halden Prison

Would you like to get away from the stresses of the daily life for the next five to ten years? Then Norway’s new Halden prison/spa is for you!

Halden Prison holds 252 inmates, making it the second-largest prison in Norway. The prison cost 1.5 billion kroner ($252 million) and took 10 years to complete. It's a gorgeous, ultra-modern structure right near the Swedish border, comprised of cells that are arranged in units of 10 to 12, much like a college dorm. Except these cells are actually better than most dorms, since every cell comes with a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV, as well as a view, the windows don't even have bars in them.

But what about facilities, you might ask? My college dorm had a foosball table, and a vending machine! This prison can't match that, right? Wrong. Halden has a gym, training room, chapel, library, family visiting unit, football field, a school, and most unbelievably a sound studio. But it's the design that's most strikingly different from American prisons. Halden doesn't shy away from bright, cheerful colors, and actually spent about $1 million to hire a graffiti artist named Dolk (sort of their version of Banksy) to paint beautiful murals all around the grounds.

It's all aimed at rehabilitating, rather than necessarily punishing, criminals, which is a noble exercise and all that, but it's sort of personally embarrassing to me to know that a prison is more luxurious than some of my past apartments.

Image Credit: Trond Isaksen/Statsbygg


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