October 27th, 2016
“Not a single coil of razor wire in sight, yet no prisoner has ever tried to escape,” says the reporter. “Violent incidents are extremely rare.”
If that doesn’t sound like prison, it’s because it’s nothing like prison—or most countries’ version of it.
The news report below, aired by the UK’s Channel 4 earlier today, joins George McBride of drug policy think tank VolteFace and Nicola Garrick of the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust on a visit to Norway’s Halden Prison, “the most humane maximum-security prison in the world.”
Although it’s fairly expensive to run, the quoted recidivism rate of just 20 percent would be the envy of just about any similar institution. Rehabilitation from drug-related problems is a key theme in its relatively pleasant environment, where the prevailing philosophy is reportedly that everyone inside will one day be somebody’s neighbor on the outside.
The contrast with the overcrowding, inhumanity and routine brutality of the US prison system is extreme. While the large majority of prisoners in the US—the world’s most incarcerated nation—shouldn’t be behind bars at all, if we have to have some prisons, shouldn’t they be a lot more like this one?