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article imageSwedish prisoner escapes, returns after visit to dentist

By Martin Laine     Nov 29, 2013 in Odd News
Vänersborg — A 51-year-old prisoner at a minimum security prison left without permission to visit a dentist. Once his tooth was taken care of, he returned, only to find out his sentence would be extended.
“My whole face was swollen. I just couldn’t stand it anymore,” explained the prisoner, according to an article in The Local.
The man, who was not identified, was serving a one-month sentence at the Ostragard prison in Vänersborg in southeastern Sweden. He said he had asked to have his tooth treated, but was turned down, and so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Once he was finished with the dentist, he went to the police station to ask for a ride back to the prison. When he got back, the guards informed him his sentence would be extended – by one day.
Scandinavian prisons are not at all like American prisons.
In an article in The Atlantic, writer Doran Larson described typical conditions at a minimum security prison in Helsinki, Finland. Prisoners wear their own street clothes. They can go out to work or to school. They can visit their families as long as they wear electronic monitoring devices.
Their cells look more like dorm rooms, with regular beds, flat screen TVs, sound systems, and mini-refrigerators.
Critics scoff at the cushy conditions, and point out that the element of punishment is missing. But something must be working. While American prisons are bursting at the seams, the Swedish government announced earlier this month that it was closing four prisons due to a lack prisoners.
More about Ostragard prison, Escape, Vnersborg
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