The idea of finding oneself in prison is one that’d send chills down anyone’s spine. What is life inside a prison like? Well, while we all have, to varying degrees of accuracy, an idea of what it would be like in India, here’s another culture’s take on correctional facilities.
Around since 2010, the Halden Prison has been called the world’s most humane maximum security prison. The architects that designed it ensured that inmates would have ample greenery around them and access to windows to enjoy it whenever they so desired.
With wooden doors with handles and windows, the interiors of this prison have a look that’s a far stretch from what you and I imagine in prison context.
Each cell is more of a college dorm room than a prisoner’s cage. Ample natural light, comfortable quarters and relative privacy are enjoyed by everyone here.
The people that designed this prison upheld the philosophy that people, even the dangerous ones, behave more civilly if treated like human beings than if dismissed as threats to ‘normal’ people.
This respect shows in all aspects of their stay in custody. From cooking their own dinners – fresh fruits and veggies and all – eating them together in an open common space, with real silverware are all things that an inmate at Halden enjoys. They even have access to recreational activities like pottery.
They have a rec room where watching TV and movies and playing video games are all within reach for the prisoners.
What’s more, they have access to a fully equipped gymnasium, basketball courts and a rock-climbing wall!
The last, but not the least of their facilities includes an actual recording studio where inmates can be held in the comforting embrace of music.
For the more spiritually or religiously inclined, the prison also has a space to pray and meditate. Local religious leaders and spiritual guides often conduct sessions at the high-security facility.
However effective they are, one must admit that it’s admirable how Norway’s government takes thoughtful and tedious care in reforming the criminal elements of its society.