Aranjuez Prison, Aranjuez, Spain
Spain’s Aranjuez Prison lets parents and children stay with their incarcerated family members. With Disney characters on the walls, a nursery, and a playground, the goal is to prevent kids from realizing, as long as possible, that a parent is behind bars
Bastøy Prison, Horten, Norway
Bastøy prison is the largest low-security prison in Norway. The prison is located at Bastøy island in the Oslo Fiord, belonging to Horten municipality. The prison uses the whole island, but the northern part with the beach Nordbukta is defined as open to the public. The prison is organized as a small local community with about 80 buildings, roads, beach zones, cultural landscape, football field, agricultural land and forest. In addition to the prison functions, there is a shop, library, information office, health services, church, school, NAV (government social services), dock, ferry service (with its own shipping agency) and a lighthouse with facilities to let for smaller meetings and seminars. On Bastoy prison island, the prisoners, some of whom are murderers and rapists, live in conditions that critics brand ‘cushy’ and ‘luxurious’. Yet it has by far the lowest reoffending rate in Europe
Luzira Prison, Kampala, Uganda
In Luzira, inmates are assigned more responsibility that would be in similar prisons in the United Kingdom or the USA. Inmates assume responsibility for maintenance of harmony and functionality of the units where they live, including the growing and harvesting of food, its preparation and its distribution within the prison. Learning is encouraged, with many men learning and teaching carpentry skills to others. The guard to prisoner ration in Luzira is about 1:35, compared to 1:15 in the UK. Aggression among inmates is the exception and not the rule. The recidivism rate in Luzira is less than 30 percent, compared with 46 percent in the UK and 76 percent in the United States
San Diego Medium-Security Women’s Prison, Cartagena, Colombia
Inmates at the San Diego Women’s Prison in Cartagena get a taste of freedom every night as they morph into cooks, waitresses and dishwashers at “Interno,” a colorful restaurant now open in one of the facility’s indoor patios. 25 of the nearly 180 inmates housed here were selected as part of a program looking to help women near the end of their sentences transition back into society. Women at this low-security prison are serving time for crimes such as theft, drug trafficking and extortion.
Norgerhaven Prison, Veenhuizen, Netherlands
Inmates at the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen, Netherlands, have a bed, furniture, a refrigerator, and a TV in their cells, as well as a private bathroom. The crime rates in the Netherlands are so low, that they faced an “undercrowding” crisis. To solve this “problem”, the country struck a deal with Norway in 2015, to take on their prison overflow. Now part of Norwegian inmates serve their sentences in Norgerhaven.
Halden Prison, Halden, Norway
Halden Prison is a maximum-security prison in Halden, Norway. It has three main units and receives prisoners from all over the world, but has no conventional security devices. The second-largest prison in Norway, it was established in 2010 with a focus on rehabilitation; its design simulates life outside the prison. Among other activities, sports and music are available to the prisoners, who interact with the unarmed staff to create a sense of community. Praised for its humane conditions, Halden Prison has received the Arnstein Arneberg Award for its interior design in 2010 and been the subject of a documentary, but has also received criticism for being too liberal.
Penal De Ciudad Barrios, Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel, El Salvador
These cells are just 12 feet wide and 15 feet tall, but they’re usually packed with more than 30 people. They were initially constructed to serve as 72-hour holding cells, but many inmates stay for more than a year. Most of their days are spent pulling apart their clothes and using the thread to sew together hammocks, where they sleep stacked on top of one another like cords of wood.
HMP Addiewell, Lothian, Scotland
HMP Addiewell is a learning prison, where residents can address their offending behaviour and the circumstances which led to their imprisonment through Purposeful Activity. Purposeful activities include education, counseling and work. Nature and family contact whilst in prison is also a fundamental element of the rehabilitation process.
Black Dolphin Prison, Sol-Iletsk, Russia
At Russia’s notorious Black Dolphin Prison on the border of Kazakhstan, inmates share small 50-square-foot cells that are set back behind three sets of steel doors. Inmates live in a “cell within a cell”, with 24-hour surveillance. Black Dolphin houses the most brutal criminals, including serial killers, cannibals, and terrorists. A prison lieutenant told National Geographic, which did a documentary on the facility, that the only way to escape is by dying. If you combine all the crimes of the inmates, they have killed about 3,500 people. That’s an average of five murders per inmate.
Champ-Dollon Prison, Geneva, Switzerland
Opened in 1977, the main function of Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison is to hold prisoners before trial and sentencing. The numbers of inmates is constantly increasing, which has lead to a chronic problem of overcrowding. 115 different nationalities were represented in the prison in 2010 with just 7.2% Swiss.
The Maula Prison, Lilongwe, Malawi
The Maula prison in Lilongwe, Malawi, is severely overcrowded — in 2015, almost 200 people were crammed into one 60-person cell. Prisoners there, many of whom are Ethiopian migrants, must share one toilet per 120 people and one tap per 900 people. Prisoners are fed just once a day, due to the small budget of the Malawian government. One of a few highlights for the inmates is sports. Men are permitted to play football and women can play basketball.