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Norway's Halden Prison world's most humane facility

By Richard Mccallum     May 10, 2010 in Crime
Halden - Halden Prison took 10 years to build and cost $23 million, and it rests in the middle of a 75-acre tract of Norway's beautiful rolling hills. It serves as a social experiment positing that governments do not have to be cruel to be kind.
Norway has a very low crime rate; its current prison population is 3,300 or 69 citizens per 100,000 in comparison
to figures garnered from the US which record a prison population of 2.3 million or 753 citizens per 100,000.Halden Prison opened on April 8, 2010, and is Norway's second largest prison and houses 252 inmates many of whom have committed violent felonies such as murder , robbery and rape.
The humanistic philosophy of Norway's penal system is that repressive prison environments do not work.
They believe that by treating prisoners humanely it improves their chances of rehabilitation.
According to Time Magazine, "the facility boasts amenities like a sound studio, jogging trails and a freestanding two-bedroom house where inmates can host their families during overnight visits."
Also, Halden tries to avoid an institutional design. "Exteriors are not concrete but made of bricks, galvanized steel and larch; the buildings seem to have grown organically from the woodlands."
Different countries studies of recidivism have proved that the Norwegian model works.
Figures show that within two years of their release that in the US and U.K. 50% to 60% of prisoners return to incarceration, while in Norway the amount a much lower number of 20%.
"When they arrive, many of them are in bad shape", says Are Hoidal, who is the prison governer.
"We want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people."
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