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article imageAnders Behring Breivik could go to world's most humane prison

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 30, 2011 in World
Halden - Anders Behring Breivik could find himself sent to a posh prison where inmates are provided with private rooms with bath, flat screen TVs, mini-fridges and have the opportunity to take cooking and drawing classes thanks to Norway's ideas on rehabilitation.
The man accused in the recent shooting spree and bomb attack in Norway could be looking at spending time in Halden Prison, a high-security spa-like facility that was built on the premise that convicted murderers and rapists, as well as hardened and violent criminals have a better chance of rehabilitation if they're treated humanely during their incarceration.
News media is speculating that the 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, who was charged with committing acts of terrorism and pleaded not guilty in the deaths of the 77 people, might serve his time in Halden Fengsel.
Time magazine offered a pictorial view from inside the prison, and from the looks of it, escaping to Halden's comfortable, modern facility wouldn't be out of the question for inmates serving time in United States prisons.
At Halden, prisoners can enjoy playing sports, jogging and walking along wooded trails, a functional library, shared kitchens where they can prepare their own meals, sparkling clean rooms and fully furnished common areas, according to a Time article from last year.
They can have weekend visitors who are housed in a separate two-bedroom home on the 75 acres that contains Halden Prison. They have access to a recording studio, first-rate medical services, rock climbing walls and a soccer field. Time reported inmates, who are called pupils by teachers, are rehearsing a musical now that will be performed later this year.
The prison was designed by Erik Møller Architects and is decorated with photographs and paintings including art created by Norway's Dolk, who painted a million dollars worth of murals on the walls.
Halden Fengsel, Norwegian for Halden Prison, has been called the most humane prison in all of Europe, if not the world, since its opening in 2010.
The prison can house 252 inmates, both male and female, and has no bars on the windows or doors. Halden has a 20-foot concrete perimeter wall, with a rounded top to give it less of an institutional feel, according to news reports. Half of the prison guards at Halden are female, which is believed to "reduce tension and encourages good behavior," according to Time.
Prison governor Are Hoidal said there have been no escape attempts at Halden. "In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect. When they arrive many of them are in bad shape and we want to build them up, give them confidence through education and work and have them leave as better people," according to Mail Online.
Time Magazine said that Halden Prison "mimics the outside world as much as possible to prepare inmates for freedom. The maximum sentence in Norway, even for murder, is 21 years. So barring death while incarcerated or special circumstances all persons convicted of crimes in Norway will eventually return to society."
As the second largest prison in Norway, Breivik, who slaughtered seventy-six innocent people, may spend part or all of his sentence in Halden's college dorm styled facility, located near Oslo. Many are questioning Norway's penal system and prison facilities including Alana Goodman with Commentary Magazine and Foreign Policy Magazine, who said, "In Norway, rehabilitation is the guiding principle, not punishment -- a somewhat difficult notion to swallow given the gravity and callousness of his crimes."
Goodman said when talking about Halden Fengsel, "this isn’t a white-collar, minimum-security facility. This is a place for hardened criminals, and it’s typical of the Norwegian prison system as a whole. It’s one thing to favor rehabilitation for the majority of inmates, but it raises ethical questions when spending 20 years in a place like Halden could be the worst fate facing a mass murderer and political terrorist."
Video of Halden Fengsel found on Aftenposten.
More about Anders Behring Breivik, Norway, Halden prison, Halden Fengsel, Norway killer
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