How Norway designed a more humane prison

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  • 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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    Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.
    Previous headline: Norway is designing a more humane prison

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Comments • 7 026

  • Vox
    Vox   6 months back

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

    • SALINAS SANTANA
      SALINAS SANTANA  2 days back

      Depends on their crime & discipline..

    • Khoun Akthiphou
      Khoun Akthiphou  1 weeks back

      I would support it because everytime I heard the new the people that been jail some made too much violence.

    • AG Default
      AG Default  4 weeks back

      Yes Definetly

    • Sam Brown
      Sam Brown  1 months back

      100%, being in prison is horrible [not that i know] but you're missing out on your one life.
      Being somewhere where you can feel alive and LIVING is very valuable and should be a basic human right for everyone on the planet.

    • UNO STOIC
      UNO STOIC  2 months back

      Yes

  • nyc nyc
    nyc nyc  13 hours back

    Sound better then where I live.

    • mythirdchannel
      mythirdchannel  17 hours back

      fascinating

      • Ha ha, He he, Ho ho
        Ha ha, He he, Ho ho  19 hours back

        Dude, that looks better than my house 😂😂

        • Aero TV
          Aero TV  2 days back

          I wanna go there right now

          • Liam Wilson
            Liam Wilson  3 days back

            How Norway did civilization right

            • Ben Parker
              Ben Parker  4 days back

              Im not one for torturing people but a prisoner shouldn't be having a better time that someone who is innocent. until everyone has access to a place like this criminals should be the last priority

              • Ryan Massie
                Ryan Massie  4 days back

                Sould be nice but not too nice.

            • Dab Jimenez
              Dab Jimenez  5 days back

              Props to Norway!

              • Shkooni
                Shkooni  6 days back

                thats just a free house right there

                • thermal_jacob67
                  thermal_jacob67  6 days back

                  If you want to commit a crime, do it in Halden.

                  • Fire Hazzard
                    Fire Hazzard  7 days back

                    Scandinavia is one step ahead of the world 1. They invaded everything 2. They chilled out for a bit remaining neutral 3. Leading the world in possibly the best places to live now.

                    • Ricky911
                      Ricky911  1 weeks back

                      Judge: that'll be 47 years
                      6six9nine: I know why Norwegian prisoners don't recommit crimes after being released

                      • Burger panini
                        Burger panini  1 weeks back

                        meanwhile in the Philippines:
                        they have improvised explosive device inside.

                        • Sachie Reid
                          Sachie Reid  1 weeks back

                          It’s mush easier to do it a Norwegian way if the number of inmates are smaller to begin with.

                          • BlackSilhouette
                            BlackSilhouette  2 weeks back

                            I wish American prision could be like this but it is hard to replicate another country’s system and expect it to turn out the same way with the same results.

                            • Mercce
                              Mercce  2 weeks back

                              Like I'd commit a crime JUST to go to these prisons.

                              • Plutarch
                                Plutarch  2 weeks back

                                Prisons are not supposed to be humane. They are supposed to be hard time. Nobody would come back to my prison. Sledgehammers and Rocks. For killers.....Chaingangs. Death Rows. Executions.

                                • Lucas Lauret
                                  Lucas Lauret  2 weeks back

                                  i prefer this prison as my school, thats sad

                                  • Cantong Chong
                                    Cantong Chong  3 weeks back

                                    Do one on German Prisons. The Only Nation in the World where inmates have rights.

                                    • El. Takes
                                      El. Takes  3 weeks back

                                      Crime rate rises to 100% in Norway

                                      • Johnny Lorentsen
                                        Johnny Lorentsen  4 weeks back

                                        Homeless people be like: Lets go to Norway and commit crimes!

                                        • Johnny Lorentsen
                                          Johnny Lorentsen  4 weeks back

                                          For example, in the USA they punish prisoners for what they've done, which mabye will lead to them doing more crimes, and the goverment will lose some money.

                                          In Norway, prisoners are having a great time in the prison, which will make them a better person, which will lead to less crimes, and they can get a job, and pay taxes and become a better person.

                                          • Jhane Ayles
                                            Jhane Ayles  4 weeks back

                                            Norway's architecture of prisons are brilliant. Just wish the US president would speak on making the education systems and prisons more humane rather than spending billions on a "wall".

                                            • ginsengjin
                                              ginsengjin  4 weeks back

                                              I support humane prisons. Sometimes people grow up in a bad environment due to circumstances out of their control and they never learned how to be a part of a functioning society being considerate of another. There are plenty of people who deserve a second chance and obviously this type of prisons would be set apart from those who are repeat offenders of violent crimes in which they're most likely not suited for this type of place.

                                              • butterfly effect
                                                butterfly effect  4 weeks back

                                                being in prison is the punishment, the architecture doesn’t have to be

                                                this is great

                                                • Cameron Gray
                                                  Cameron Gray  4 weeks back

                                                  Everyone who has been released from prison say they are s good person after because of themselves. They have the time to think about what they should have done and how to be better. It’s not the harsh environment they are scared of.

                                                  • ImpaledBerry
                                                    ImpaledBerry  4 weeks back

                                                    I think the future of prisons should overlook the city, to signify their lack of freedom, rooms are confortable and hyper modern, lots of greenery and natural lighting and windows, cells should have wooden doors with a window, a personal shower, bed, and desk, cafeteria would feel like a mall inside, basically like a college but instead of classes its "cells"

                                                    • Rishab Reigns
                                                      Rishab Reigns  4 weeks back

                                                      *Humanity still exists*

                                                      • Da meme boi
                                                        Da meme boi  4 weeks back

                                                        Imagine committing a crime just to go live there
                                                        *BIG BRAIN TIME*

                                                        • Jann Lee
                                                          Jann Lee  4 weeks back

                                                          Remember people prison in Norway are nice, but you don’t have freedom in prison.

                                                          You can’t access social media, travel, shopping, go to restaurant, go to the movies, doing fun stuff and etc.

                                                          • 彭奕維
                                                            彭奕維  4 weeks back

                                                            This is waaaay better than my college dorm.

                                                            • Darth Krul
                                                              Darth Krul  4 weeks back

                                                              I guess the homeless won't have to be homeless anymore in Norway (if that works)

                                                              • Xavier 2.0
                                                                Xavier 2.0  4 weeks back

                                                                I would rather stay at here than my -house- apartment

                                                                • Roan the Delphox
                                                                  Roan the Delphox  1 months back

                                                                  And here I thought prisons were supposed to be a deterrent from doing crime. That prison is nicer than my house. I bet what Norway will do next is give rapists and murderers mansions and 10 meals a day.

                                                                  • Trigger Random
                                                                    Trigger Random  1 months back

                                                                    aight imma do some theft.. coz this is more cozy than my house

                                                                    • matan8s
                                                                      matan8s  1 months back

                                                                      Looking great! Wonder what will happen to the prisoners in these jails when Norway's oil and gas will completely over in 2050.

                                                                      • Ashish Sangwan
                                                                        Ashish Sangwan  1 months back

                                                                        These countries have too much looted money to spend on prisons

                                                                        • can you see me
                                                                          can you see me  4 weeks back

                                                                          @zivkovicable "occupied itself" 😂😂😂😂

                                                                        • zivkovicable
                                                                          zivkovicable  4 weeks back

                                                                          What has Norway looted? It has never had an empire, although it has been invaded & occupied itself..

                                                                        • can you see me
                                                                          can you see me  1 months back

                                                                          If crime gets too much,they may not be able to keep up with this luxury prison system.

                                                                      • Marcus Wright
                                                                        Marcus Wright  1 months back

                                                                        At first I thought that I was totally against this but after thinking about it, it isn’t that bad of an idea.

                                                                        • Russia ball 4400
                                                                          Russia ball 4400  1 months back

                                                                          Like the nice version of the gulags

                                                                          • T00 Qu1ck
                                                                            T00 Qu1ck  1 months back

                                                                            Norway: they're humans
                                                                            USA: they're animals

                                                                            • Mr Rugby
                                                                              Mr Rugby  1 months back

                                                                              T00 Qu1ck North Korea: They are disposable

                                                                          • Vlad Avram
                                                                            Vlad Avram  1 months back

                                                                            I'm ok with the concept and all but... Those prison rooms are luxurious compared to the dormitory of my University. And that is frustrating...

                                                                            • Roman Cusumano
                                                                              Roman Cusumano  1 months back

                                                                              Support it in Norway but not in America

                                                                              • Keagan Rayne Kirsten
                                                                                Keagan Rayne Kirsten  1 months back

                                                                                This prison looks nicer than all university accommodation in my country

                                                                                • Arnhûr Galathadan
                                                                                  Arnhûr Galathadan  1 months back

                                                                                  Completely disagree.

                                                                                  • Debbie Cakes
                                                                                    Debbie Cakes  1 months back

                                                                                    They are encouraging the prisoners to go back to commit more crime just to go back to jail and live rent free and free food...c'mon ..if I go to jail, I wanna not go back to jail and turn my life around for change

                                                                                    • My Life As Tom
                                                                                      My Life As Tom  1 months back

                                                                                      *when prisons become better than schools*

                                                                                      • Unique Name Here
                                                                                        Unique Name Here  1 months back

                                                                                        rob a bank? nah we will just give you a mansion

                                                                                        • harsh pathak
                                                                                          harsh pathak  1 months back

                                                                                          This is by far the dumbest thing I've ever seen. 🤣🤣🤣🤣

                                                                                          • Tuscan417
                                                                                            Tuscan417  7 days back

                                                                                            How? Because of this system, the recidivism rate of Norway has become one of the lowest ones in the world. If it works, don't change it.