The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison
Article contrasting Norway’s correctional system with America’s, considering the motivations and efficacy of each.
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Like everything else in Norway, the two-hour drive southeast from Oslo seemed impossibly civilized. The highways were perfectly maintained and painted, the signs clear and informative and the speed-monitoring cameras primly intolerant. My destination was the town of Halden, which is on the border with Sweden, straddling a narrow fjord guarded by a 17th-century fortress. I drove down winding roads flanked in midsummer by rich green fields of young barley and dense yellow carpets of rapeseed plants in full flower. Cows clustered in wood-fenced pastures next to neat farmsteads in shades of rust and ocher. On the outskirts of town, across from a road parting dark pine forest, the turnoff to Norway’s newest prison was marked by a modest sign that read, simply, HALDEN FENGSEL. There were no signs warning against picking up hitchhikers, no visible fences. Only the 25-foot-tall floodlights rising along the edges hinted that something other than grazing cows lay ahead. Read more...