How Norway designed a more humane prison

  • Published: 12 April 2019
  • There’s a better way to design prison architecture.

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    Halden Prison in Norway looks sort of like a fancy dorm room or a hotel — much different than the barbed wire and cramped cells we often associate with prison design. Its look is all part of a plan to create a more humane prison, one where the architecture isn’t part of the punishment.

    Most prisons around the world are consolidated into one single building. This style makes it easy and efficient for inmates to move around, but the design is monotonous and full of visually unappealing materials, like steel and concrete. Plus, tight quarters inside these spaces can foster conflict.

    Halden has a different structure: a campus design, where inmates move from one building to another, and are surrounded by lots of windows and construction materials that help muffle noise and take advantage of natural light.

    The prison’s layout also encourages guards to interact with inmates face-to-face, which fosters better relationships and reduces security-related incidents.

    Halden’s design style is expensive — which is why we mostly see it implemented in places with good social support systems, like Western Europe and Scandinavia. Still, the design is setting new standards for what prisons could be like in the future.

    By Design is a new Vox video series about the intersection of design and technology, hosted by Christophe Haubursin.

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Comments • 6 148

  • Vox
    Vox   3 months back

    Would you support humane prison design in your own country? Why or why not?

  • Nightmare _1234563
    Nightmare _1234563  2 hours back

    this may sound horrible but prisons are supposed to be a place where criminals go to be punished. this is a literal hotel

    • Yuki
      Yuki  1 hours back

      But is more effective than regular United States prisons

  • adhith t ESD
    adhith t ESD  3 hours back

    Please arrest me . I beg you please......

    • NMW
      NMW  4 hours back

      I would stay at that hotel

      • Tobias Natland
        Tobias Natland  4 hours back

        Prision is not about to be puniched, it is about to learn to not be A crime

        • Tobias Natland
          Tobias Natland  4 hours back

          Be like Norway let the prisions be free inside the prision

          • Egardelerde , o Deus
            Egardelerde , o Deus  6 hours back

            Doesn't make sense, this feels like vacation for prisioners. I wouldn't want a murderer to go on vacation, I want him to suffer

            • Rex
              Rex  6 hours back

              The USA should fix its school system so we do not have such a prison problem in first place. We need to invest more into school that can help everyone. We have many models to choose from like Germanys school systems.

              • Somelazy Guy
                Somelazy Guy  11 hours back

                Arrest me please

                • Akash Guha Thakurata
                  Akash Guha Thakurata  12 hours back

                  Murder people and you'll get a resort or hotel to stay in from someone else's tax money. Wow. They should be executed.

                  • The Survival Dude 723
                    The Survival Dude 723  15 hours back

                    Come on it’s Norway what do you expect?

                    • Evan Rybner
                      Evan Rybner  16 hours back

                      I wanna be in that prison it would be like vacation

                      • Evan Rybner
                        Evan Rybner  16 hours back

                        Try to put this in the US and it would be way to expensive plus not hold enough roommates and there would be so many breakouts

                        • Emil Moen
                          Emil Moen  15 hours back

                          Evan Rybner There is no reason to try to break out. There is no fight or flight instinct because you are treated like a human.

                      • Super Saiyan Goku
                        Super Saiyan Goku  18 hours back

                        Take notes, america!

                        • Sukhdeep Sandhu
                          Sukhdeep Sandhu  24 hours back

                          people complaining about US prisons should check the conditions of prisons in underdeveloped countries

                          • Emil Moen
                            Emil Moen  15 hours back

                            Sukhdeep Sandhu Well US has the funds to do something about their system. People dont expect much from those underdeveloped countries.

                        • Wilson Frankhouse
                          Wilson Frankhouse  1 days back

                          Pretty sure even I could escape this place lol

                          • Camaren Deepnarain
                            Camaren Deepnarain  1 days back

                            I love all of your videos

                            • Janne Heiskanen
                              Janne Heiskanen  1 days back

                              Now I want to go to prison....

                              • Relativokay
                                Relativokay  1 days back

                                A prison shouldn't be a place where you disconnect from the outside world, it should be a place of re-integration into society.

                                • LlamaDuck
                                  LlamaDuck  1 days back

                                  Ok guess it’s time to move to norway and commit a crime.

                                  Update: currently on the flight.

                                  • Tiana Willis
                                    Tiana Willis  2 days back

                                    Love this! This is how it should be

                                    • WOW Taser ZZ
                                      WOW Taser ZZ  2 days back

                                      hmm. Y ee eet

                                      • Kenny McCormick
                                        Kenny McCormick  2 days back

                                        Americas problem is that its prison is for profit.

                                        • dylan smith
                                          dylan smith  2 days back

                                          I hope this isn’t real

                                          • EastWood Grap
                                            EastWood Grap  2 days back

                                            Why is the prison cell better than my house.

                                            • Uso_685 Kefe
                                              Uso_685 Kefe  2 days back

                                              These futuristic models are so refreshing. It is a very beautiful thing to be able to consider that a prison

                                              • Wład Kapelinski
                                                Wład Kapelinski  2 days back

                                                it might just be me but this looks like a hotel and prisoners feel regret for what they did when they go into a normal prison, but this looks better than being free, it takes time to get a car a job and a good house but here they have lots of stuff to do and places to be.

                                                • President Namjoon
                                                  President Namjoon  2 days back

                                                  Prison should not just be for making people feel bad about their past, it should be about helping them rehabilitate and to learn to live a normal life despite their past. And I doubt putting criminals in a big, overcrowded, concrete box will make them realize their mistakes

                                              • Flight 32X
                                                Flight 32X  3 days back

                                                It is counterintuitive but it works

                                                • Fish Gorl
                                                  Fish Gorl  3 days back

                                                  Is Anders Breivik here lol

                                                  • no name lol
                                                    no name lol  3 days back

                                                    so someone murders someone else and then gets to go to most likely a place better than his home.

                                                    • A Budgie
                                                      A Budgie  1 days back

                                                      That’s not the point. In the end, the perpetrator will become a better person and won’t commit crime again. I’d rather have bad people become good people than suffer. Also, they mentioned that the punishment is loss of freedom, not poor living conditions.

                                                  • u2good2b4gotn
                                                    u2good2b4gotn  3 days back

                                                    This will never work in the US. Prisons like this would never get funded. The financial incentive just isn't there. You cannot make a prison in the US where the conditions are actually better then what homeless people face.

                                                    • Ben
                                                      Ben  3 days back

                                                      This would never work in a US maximum security setting.

                                                      • Garnet
                                                        Garnet  3 days back

                                                        The jail is better than my house

                                                        • Hadouken Hadouken
                                                          Hadouken Hadouken  3 days back

                                                          You call this a humane prison? It's freaking paradise for the homeless!

                                                          • A Budgie
                                                            A Budgie  1 days back

                                                            Do you really think homeless people shouldn’t be able to have homes?

                                                          • President Namjoon
                                                            President Namjoon  2 days back

                                                            In Norway if you’re homeless you get social support so you can live in a decent apartment and can find ways to support yourself. There is no reason for a person to commit a crime just to get into a prison like this

                                                        • Laura Mal
                                                          Laura Mal  3 days back

                                                          But what if people start committing more crimes to get into the prison since it's so pretty

                                                          • A Budgie
                                                            A Budgie  1 days back

                                                            Yeah, where they can’t be with their family and friends, can’t work, can’t be self sufficient, and can’t live a free life. Sounds way better. You know people also get sued for committing crime right?

                                                        • Yummy Mellon
                                                          Yummy Mellon  3 days back

                                                          that's great and innovative
                                                          .the only problem is money n people might not want to come out of prison

                                                          • Emil Moen
                                                            Emil Moen  15 hours back

                                                            Yummy Mellon Norway is the third happiest country in the world. People would want to come out... Its still a prison meaning you have your freedom taken away.

                                                        • Kate Vanderbilt
                                                          Kate Vanderbilt  3 days back

                                                          Welp, I know where I'm taking my next vacation!

                                                          • Dhruv Patel
                                                            Dhruv Patel  4 days back

                                                            a prison isn't a place to get punished, ut a place to learn from your mistakes. I think this is a better approach for prisons .

                                                            • Sukhdeep Sandhu
                                                              Sukhdeep Sandhu  24 hours back

                                                              is it possible in a country which struggles to provide food to its non criminal population to provide such a prison to criminals???

                                                          • Matthew
                                                            Matthew  4 days back

                                                            The US prizon system is designed to make money off the inmates.

                                                            • ladyrose358
                                                              ladyrose358  4 days back

                                                              I'm Norwegian. Norway = Big Brother! Be careful.

                                                              • Hussain
                                                                Hussain  4 days back

                                                                If only my school is just like this, i'll throw away my phone and read books all day

                                                                • Cette Belle Magie
                                                                  Cette Belle Magie  5 days back

                                                                  I feel like this design reinforces good behavior in inmates. They show what they’re missing from the outside to remind them that they need to change in order to join society again. However, I wonder how this would affect a prisoner with psychopathy. It seems too forgiving.

                                                                  • A Budgie
                                                                    A Budgie  1 days back

                                                                    A psychopath would be put in a mental institution, to be taught how to be a “normal” human.

                                                                • Cassius Redgun
                                                                  Cassius Redgun  5 days back

                                                                  Americans would have to understand the concept of rehabilitation before any new ideas could be introduced. Understanding concepts is hard for the average American; concepts like metric or universal healthcare for examples.

                                                                  • A Budgie
                                                                    A Budgie  1 days back

                                                                    “the average American” includes their politicians as well.

                                                                • Chi
                                                                  Chi  6 days back

                                                                  This should just be a homeless shelter or a prison for people who did minor crimes

                                                                  • A Budgie
                                                                    A Budgie  1 days back

                                                                    Nah. People who commit major-ish crimes still have a right to be re-integrated. Remember, this design reduces prison violence and conflict. Thus, the vast majority of prisoners should be in places like this.

                                                                • Jake Shumway
                                                                  Jake Shumway  7 days back

                                                                  So many countries have better methods than the US I don't understand why we don't adapt and fix our systems.

                                                                  • A Budgie
                                                                    A Budgie  1 days back

                                                                    A bunch of apes are in parliament, that’s why.

                                                                • Atthar Ibrah
                                                                  Atthar Ibrah  1 weeks back

                                                                  judge : you are sentenced to be in prison for 10 years
                                                                  suspected : ok then

                                                                  • Stanley Long
                                                                    Stanley Long  9 hours back

                                                                    Judge: 10 years in jail
                                                                    Suspected: yay!

                                                                  • jun casilang
                                                                    jun casilang  1 days back

                                                                    Norway is a discipline country, 99% norway won't commit crime tho they're safest country too.

                                                                • Andrew A
                                                                  Andrew A  1 weeks back

                                                                  Yea I’m sure deshawn and his bloods would totally respect this contemporary prison.

                                                                  • F. Teixeira
                                                                    F. Teixeira  1 weeks back

                                                                    Serving people vs serving costs and capital