Welcome to the world’s nicest prison -Bastoy Prison, Norway


Bastoy Prison in Southern Norway has been called a holiday version of Alcatraz.  Founded in 1982, Bastoy Prison is located on a lush, 1-square-mile island of pine trees and rocky coasts, with views of the ocean that are postcard-worthy. It feels more like a resort than jail, and prisoners here enjoy freedoms that would be unthinkable elsewhere. There is a beach where prisoners sunbath in the summer.  There are good fishing spots, tennis courts and a sauna.

Before passing any judgment on the luxurious accommodation, a closer look at the prison’s rate of recidivism would be in order.  After all, isn’t reform the real goal of serving  prison time?

Only 20% of prisoners who come through Norway’s prisons reoffend within two years of being released, according to a 2010 report commissioned by the governments of several Nordic countries.  At Bastoy, that figure is even lower, officials say: about 16%. The comparable rate for state prisons in the United States is approximately 43%.

The CNN article written by John D. Sutter entitled: Welcome to the world’s nicest prison,  contains a video that is worth watching.  Whether or not you agree with the approach, it’s certainly hard to argue with the results!



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