Europe

Scandinavia's humane prisons

Sarah Lazarus, CNN

Updated 9:00 PM ET, Fri March 16, 2018
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East Jutland State PrisonEast Jutland State Prison
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Friis & Moltke architects -- who are part of the team working on Nuuk's new prison -- designed East Jutland State Prison which opened in 2006. The design uses the natural topography of the landscape to maximize views of courtyards and gardens. FRIIS & MOLTKE Architects
Bastøy Prison is a minimum security facility on an island south of Oslo. Its 115 inmates live in brightly-painted cottages, grow fruit and vegetables on the prison's farm, and ride horses, fish and play tennis in their leisure time. Bastoy Prison
Bastøy Prison's inmates live in brightly-painted cottages, grow fruit and vegetables on the prison's farm, and ride horses, fish and play tennis in their leisure time. Bastoy Prison
This sunbathing inmate at Bastøy prison was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for murder and narcotics-related crime. Critics have complained that the prisoners' lives are too easy but with re-offending rates of around 16%, the humane approach appears to be working. Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images
A high security prison set in blueberry woods in southern Norway, Halden is often cited as the "model" humane prison. With a focus on rehabilitation, its facilities include a gym, a rock-climbing wall, jogging trails, a soccer field, a library, a music studio, a small hospital, a dental clinic, and a Family House where prisoners can stay overnight with their partners and children. Caters News/Caters News/ZUMA PRESS
The cells in Halden prison are equipped with private en-suite bathrooms, flatscreen TVs, mini-fridges and large windows without bars that let the sunlight stream in. Ten to 12 inmates share a communal kitchen and living room. Caters News/ZUMA PRESS
Denmark's high security Storstrøm Prison, which opened in 2017, is built in the style of a university campus. Its 250 inmates are each given a 40 square foot cell with a TV, fridge, private bathroom and large window. According to the prison's architects, C.F. Møller, the design "supports the inmates' mental and physical well-being and also ensures a secure and pleasant workplace for employees." The complex echoes the structure and scale of a small provincial community. Torben Eskerod/C.F. Møller Architects
The chapel at Storstrøm prison is one of many facilities designed to help normalize the experience of inmates. The prison also has family facilities including a visitor section, playground, and visitor apartments where inmates can spend time with their partners and children. Torben Eskerod/C.F. Møller Architects
Although it is situated in the Netherlands, Norgerhaven Prison is rented to the Norwegian government and houses Norwegian prisoners. The prison building forms a quadrangle around "The Park," an open space with mature trees, picnic tables, benches and tennis courts. The pleasant environment encourages the prisoners to hang out in small groups, chatting and relaxing, while the natural landscape promotes wellbeing. Wikimedia Commons