Surprisingly prison is not always as bad as expected. While that doesn’t mean we suggest you go out and commit a crime, not all prisons are like the ones depicted in the movies featuring murderers and rapists. We often forget about the white collar crime prisons. These are prisons likened to country clubs (being paid for by your tax dollars).
Whether you are searching for the best place to serve out your sentence or are simply curious about the accommodations of luxurious penitentiaries, the following is a list of the 10 nicest prisons in the world that rival many luxury hotels, resorts and spas.
1. Halden Prison
Located in Halden, Norway, Halden Prison was established in 2010 with a focus on rehabilitation through its design. The layout of the entire structure helps inmates reintegrate into society by simulated life outside of the walls. There are also a variety of activities that vary from sports to music, all of which are used for reintegration purposes. The staff is not armed to further create a sense of community and minimize violence. The prison boasts humane conditions, beautiful architecture and design that provides a home-like feel. The cells are fully-furnished and include a television set as well as a refrigerator.
Halden Prison is considered maximum security with dangerous criminals including murderers, rapists and child molesters. The minority of inmates are behind these bars due to drug-related crimes. Separately, sex offenders and those requiring psychiatric assistance are in a separated area. Conventional security devices such as an electric fence, snipers, towers and barbed wire do not exist at this prison. Surveillance cameras only exist outside and cannot be found in the cells, hallways, classrooms, workshops and common rooms.
2. Otago Corrections Facility
Located near Milton, New Zealand, the prison offers three rehabilitation programs. The Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Program was developed for prisoners who fall in the middle-risk range. The Short Rehabilitation Program focuses on a smaller group of prisoners who require rehabilitation but are no serving enough time to complete the long program. The third is a Drug Treatment unit for those with drug and alcohol problems. Dubbed the “Milton Hilton,” the property boasts rugby courts, underfloor heating during the winter months and fresh towels.
3. Butner Federal Correctional Institution
Home to white collar inmates such as Bernie Madoff, the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina boasts quiet corridors and a property full of flowers and greenery. There are four facilities on the campus: Butner Low (a low security facility), Butner Medium (two medium security facilities) and the Butner Federal Medical center which focuses on behavioral sciences and oncology. It is the largest medical complex in the entire Federal Bureau of Prisons division.
4. Suomenlinna Prison
Suomenlinna Prison is one of the world’s only “open prisons” which does not have any locked doors or cells. Located outside of Helsinki, Finland, prisoners share entire houses and have private rooms. They are put to work on various reconstruction of the fortress around the island. Since it used to be a sea fortress, the prison is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular with tourists as being a picturesque picnicking spot.
5. Mahanoy State Correctional Institution
Located in West Mahanoy Township, Pennsylvania, The Mahanoy State Correctional Institution is a medium-security, all male facility. Inside, the nonviolent offenders enjoy every amenity from outdoor football fields to lounge furniture in common areas. Offenders have the opportunity to work in the correction industries program which is a distribution center for commissary items. Other jobs include road crew to collect garbage along the interstate. Inmates can also participate in apprenticeship programs which teach them new marketable skills such as electrical wiring, masonry, culinary, carpentry and painting.
6. Her Majesty’s Prison Addiewell
In close proximity to the village of Addiewell in Scotland, Her Majesty’s (HM) Prison Addiewell is more of a bed-and-breakfast than a prison. The facility focuses on rehabilitation, as opposed to punishment, by giving inmates, clean and colorful rooms as well as full-time jobs to keep them busy. The prison is a male-only, medium security facility.
7. Jessup Correctional Institution
Looking for a new skill? Once per week, a group of elderly women visit the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland to instruct inmates how to knit. This practice first accrued scorn but has become one of the most popular activities within the prison walls. The Jessup Correctional Institution is a maximum security prison boasting a library, which can be used for legal research and writing and a college program known as Prison Scholars Program. Many of the courses teach philosophy which is run by Loyola University Profession Drew Leder.
8. Bastoy Prison
Located in Bastoy, Norway, this prison is a small slice of paradise as it is situated on its own island and boasts amenities like horseback riding, cross-country skiing, fishing, tennis and fine dining. The inmates do not live in cells; instead, they retire for the evening in wooden cottages that dot the island. Bastoy Prison is attempting to become the world’s “first ecological prison in the world.” In 2014, the prison was given the honor of receiving the 2014 Blanche Major Reconciliation Prize for the promotion of human values and tolerance.
9. Luzira Upper Prison
Prisons in Africa are not commonly known for their human rights. However, Luzira Upper Prison in Uganda is the exception to the rule. With extensive education and rehabilitation programs, this prison boasts one of the lowest reoffending rates in the world. Each Easter, local radio station 104.1 Power FM contacts the prisoners and provides them with goodies such as salt, bull, toiletries, sodas and sugar. Some inmates have formed bands and perform for visitors and the food is said to be tasty.
10. Oxford Federal Correctional Institution
No barbed wire exists at the Oxford Federal Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. Instead, lush green fields inspire the inmates during their painting and art classes. Known as “stress reduction technique,” many prisons are using art as a form of relaxation and rehabilitation. This is proving to be an excellent method of rehabilitating inmates.
The common trend within these top 10 prisons around the world is their focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society. By offering the inmates a variety of activities, educational classes, work and vocational training, they can be easily reintegrated back into society. The amenities help to keep the mindset that this is less of a punishment and more of a rehabilitation.