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.

The Most Luxurious Prisons In The World

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

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

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

Written by Curiosity Staff August 21, 2016

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