At Norway's Bastoy Prison, Inmates Are Treated Like People

At Norway's Bastoy Prison, Inmates Are Treated Like People

Bastøy Prison looks more like a summer camp than a jail: inmates roam freely throughout a 1-square-mile island, meandering among cheery red cabins, fishing and sunbathing spots, tennis courts, and a sauna. They eat meals prepared by a professional chef and work regular jobs. This is all despite the fact that the population of more than 100 includes prisoners convicted of rape and murder. The fence-free policy does result in the odd escapee, but the prison's remote island location and promise that any captured criminals will serve the rest of their sentences in a standard prison keeps those numbers fairly low. Though it may seem backwards to put admitted criminals in such cushy confines, it seems to be working: in Europe, 70% of inmates released from prison go on to commit another crime, but only 16% of those released from Bastøy do. However, Bastøy isn't much of an outlier in Norway, whose overall reoffender rate is just 20%. That's thanks to the country's unusual prison system, which keeps sentences short, prisons small, and prisoners connected to the same welfare organizations as other citizens to avoid a financial and social shock when they're released. Learn more about Norway's prison system in the videos below.

A Tour of The World's Nicest Prison

Meet the prisoners of cushy Bastøy Prison.

08:34

from Északi Napló

The Most Luxurious Prisons In The World

The hosts of Good Mythical Morning discuss some of the world's cushiest penitentiaries.

10:48

from Good Mythical Morning

What Can the U.S. Learn from Norway's Prisons?

Explore the differences between the prison systems of the U.S. and Norway.

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