There is a popular point of view, which says that the level of treatment of criminals can be judged on the level of development of the country and society. Then it turns out that the most developed countries in the world are the Scandinavian states, and from advanced countries, Russia and the United States will be at the bottom of the list.
The fact is that in powerful states, citizens internally want the offender not to be simply isolated, but also to be humiliated as much as possible. But in Denmark and Norway this approach is not applicable. They believe that in a civilized society deprivation of liberty is in itself the only possible punishment.
The offender essentially undergoes compulsory social treatment. Curiously, this approach is justified by statistics. If in the United States of those who stayed around, about half is sent to prisons again, in more humane Norway less than 20%.
Today, a series of high-profile trials in Russia makes us think harder how to change our prison system for the better? Everyone has a list of the most terrible and terrible prisons in the world, but Forbes magazine has ranked the most humane and cozy institutions of this type.
This closed male prison near Danish Copenhagen is designed for a total of 530 prisoners. Vestre is one of the oldest prisons in the country. It was built here as early as 1895, and the punishment in it is served by criminals with a term of imprisonment of not less than five years. But the prison itself, according to eyewitness accounts, leaves the most pleasant impression. Here there are not only the usual gym and a library with a medical center, but also a store where you can buy everything that is usual, except for alcohol. Funds are available to prisoners – they receive a daily allowance of 50 kroons (about 7 euros). It is also possible to earn extra money – the salary varies from 10 to 35 kroons per hour. True, most prisoners here, and especially emigrants, still prefer to receive here the proposed secondary education. Every third supervisor is a woman. All employees undergo thorough three-year training, including psychological training. This gives them every reason to receive a salary of 3000 euros. The problems with which the prison administration lives can seem funny to us. For example, the issue of consuming sweets was sharply raised, as a result of which Westra visits the dentist weekly. Although the institution is a closed type, more strict than usual, the form is only guarded, and even then, without weapons. However, typical lattice for such establishments still remained. This kind of humanity is very expensive for the authorities. As a result, there are more guards in Vestra than prisoners themselves.
In this German prison, located in Gelsenkirchen, there are both male and female blocks. The total number of prisoners here is 558 people. This prison is quite young – it was erected in 1998 for an amount of 92 million euros. Gelsenkirchen’s correctional institution spreads over an area of 100 thousand square meters, being today one of the most modern prisons in Europe. Before the design of the complex, even a contest of architects’ environments was held. The territory is divided into female and male parts, the barracks of each are lined up in a semicircle forming the boundaries of a large sports field. Both halves of the prison have their own church and library, but there are also obvious differences. So, women have the right, under the supervision of warders, to walk outside the prison, but men have their own school, with computer literacy courses and German as a second language. The time of confinement of men is spent in laundries and workshops, processing metals. Women also work in the garden and offices. It is curious that both those who periodically enter the factory from outside. In order for prisoners to embark on a correctional path, a large number of psychologists, teachers, managers, social workers and clergymen work with them.For young offenders created special programs that allow criminals not to lose their life skills at will. Visits by relatives are allowed here three times a month for 45 minutes in a common room. Criminals can also communicate with their relatives for 3 hours in a separate secluded room.
In this closed Norwegian prison in Halden, there are only 248 male prisoners. However, this is the largest correctional institution in the country, it was opened in 2010. This prison quickly became famous, thanks to various media. Although it was known that the standards of treatment of prisoners in Norway are almost the highest in the world, the reality has surpassed all expectations. On the walls of the courtyard are graffiti of the famous artist Dolka Lundgren. The exterior walls are decorated with bricks, so that the view is less official. For prisoners working sound recording studio and culinary courses, if relatives come to visit, they can spend the night in a separate house with those who are serving time. There is a feeling that this is not a prison, but a boarding house. The security is devoid of weapons, she does not even have handcuffs. Inside the rooms the decoration does not correspond to the term “camera”. So, there are no bars on the windows, but all the interior decoration looks more like an inexpensive cozy hotel. Actually, it was with this aim in mind that the interior of the prison premises and the entire territory was created – let it be as few differences as possible from the everyday world. The only thing that reminds all the same is that here the prison is six-meter block walls all along the perimeter of the territory of 30 hectares, and even then they are covered with thickets of trees. Elite prison for the elite? Not at all, here not only careless taxpayers are serving their sentence, but also the most real rapists and murderers. Like all the others, these people fill out questionnaires on the basis of which local authorities plan to improve their conditions of detention.
Ustiz Zentrum Leoben.
The Austrian prison in Leoben can accommodate 205 people. At the same time, minimal rigor is observed here, and among the prisoners, in addition to men and women, there are even minors. This construction causes contradictory responses. When the photos of this center hit the Internet, serious debates erupted. The public was agitated by the fact that criminals are held in custody in conditions better than many law-abiding Austrians. The management proudly replied that it was easy to build a building from which criminals could not escape, but allowing people to remain themselves is much more difficult. As a result, all necessary conditions were created for this. The design itself was created by the famous Austrian architect Joseph Hohenzim. Both external and internal appearance created in the style of high-tech, recalling some corporate office. The windows are designed to let in a maximum amount of light, even the furniture is painted in light colors. The place of a dreary prison yard was occupied by a garden in which tables for playing table tennis are placed. Inside the prison everything is as open as possible, prisoners can admire the surroundings, the outer wall is equipped with the latest technology of tracking. The gym and library are a common thing for prisons, and here there is even a kitchen with a washing machine, a special horse farm is causing a special delight among the prisoners. Many seem to be an inappropriate excess of concerts held in prison, which sympathetic musicians give prisoners. Of course, if not everyone, every criminal is sure to get to prison in Leoben. Only here the punishment is served only those whose term does not exceed 18 months.
Butner Federal Prison.
Americans also managed to create in one of the prisons very favorable conditions for prisoners. There are 3,600 such people in the Correctional Institution of North Carolina. The institution is of minimal and medium severity, and there are only men here.The penitentiary system in the country is considered rather harsh and provoking inequality. That is why there were made indulgences for “white-collar workers”, the main of which is this federal correctional complex Batner. Here, full of well-known guests – the founder of the largest financial pyramid in the history of the United States, Bernard Madoff, John Hinckley, attempted Ronald Reagan, television preacher-evangelist Jim Becker and various CEO of large companies. Batner even received the nicknames “The Royal Pearl of Federal Prisons” and ClubFed. Outwardly the institution looks like a student campus, only barbed wire is on the fences. One can only guess what everyday prison life is inside. That testimonies are testimonials about the good reputation of the premises and staff and eloquent details. So, it is here that the best of the entire federal prison system is the psychological and medical complexes, and the rehabilitation program for drug addicts is also excellent. On average, 2,7 dollars are allocated for each prisoner’s food per day, and cable TV is present in the cells, in particular, the Discovery Channel helps rehabilitate the criminals. But the most pleasant impression is left only with blocks of minimal rigor, in the rest is not so safe, and stabbing is not a rarity.
This Norwegian male prison of minimum rigor contains only 115 prisoners. Not far from Oslo in the fjord there is an island called Basta, which was called “the island of Hope”. According to the idea of the organizers of the prison, prisoners must feel a sense of responsibility for the environment. This will provide an opportunity to prepare for a further full life outside the walls that do not exist here. In the world’s first environmental prison, electricity is generated by solar panels, trash is sorted and, if possible, processed, and vegetables and fruits for food are grown right there. In the struggle for the preservation of nature, all prisoners are engaged, everyone does what he can. This approach not only inculcates new values for prisoners, but also gives the state considerable savings. As a result of money to maintain the eco-zone on the Basta have to spend much less than in the case of ordinary prisons. It’s a little calming of citizens worrying that their taxes are being spent on criminals. There are only 6 guards on the island, but so far there have been no attempts of rebellion. Prisoners understand that by doing this they can doom themselves to much more harsh conditions of detention. And in anonymous interviews, the prisoners do not hesitate to call this prison a summer camp. What else you need – work in the fresh air, unity with nature, horseback riding and rest on the beach when the sea warms up. Such a friendly prison, however, is far from for everyone – only small criminals living in the district of Oslo come here.
The largest Bolivian male prison is located in the city of La Paz and accommodates 1500 people. There are no cameras, no guards at all. However, a resort in the manner of Norwegian this place can not be named. Powerful walls form inside a kind of reservation for violators, which looks more like a slum of a Latin American town than a correctional facility. In San Pedro, only a quarter of the population are full-fledged prisoners, while the rest await the end of the investigation or the passing of a court decision. Earlier, there was significant drug trafficking inside the prison, to combat it, the authorities abolished the previously adopted practice of tourist visits. Nevertheless, every month in prison, an average of 4 deaths are recorded. In general, the police are trying not to interfere, especially by allowing prisoners to settle their internal affairs on their own. For this, there are choices of representatives who are given special powers. The basic law of the prison is very simple – if a person has money, then he has everything. The territory itself is divided into 8 zones, each person pays for his living.A shack of 4 square meters in the poorest part of San Pedro will cost 10 dollars a month. But the richest guests give 1000-1500 dollars, literally bathing in luxury in large rooms with all amenities. In prison, you can find any food, and sell it all the same prisoners, trying to at least at least something to earn extra money. Lonely fathers have the right to live here with children who attend schools outside of prison. The main entertainment in San Pedro – football matches between local teams. There is also a tote, the volume of rates on which monthly exceeds 20 thousand dollars. Here, as in real life, football players have a chance to make a career. The most talented move into richer teams, increasing their social status.
In Estonian, Jõhvi decided to comply with all European standards of penitentiary systems. Estonia decided to completely get rid of the Soviet legacy in the form of camp-type prisons, presenting Viru in 2006. The local prison contains 1,075 prisoners. In the open and closed parts of the prison there are both men and minors. The modern complex is built only 30 kilometers from the Russian border. Here, for the first time, prison facilities and a remand center are united. Construction contractor Merko Ethius, which has already established itself as the construction of residential buildings, the Radison SAS Hotel and the renovation of the Tallinn airport, was the contractor of the construction. It was hired as many as 220 subcontractors, and the entire construction cost 120 million dollars. At the same time, much attention is paid to safety, all 14 Viru buildings are connected by elevated closed corridors. The entire perimeter of 16 hectares is equipped with electronic tracking systems, which significantly reduced the number of guards. But for the status of a modern new prison, social guiding institutions had to be developed. The complex contains a sports hall and a school, a chapel and workshops. Prison cells here are double rooms, and each has a toilet that neutralizes smells. Prisoners are allowed to install their own TV if they are able to pay bills for cable television. Chief supervisor Viru, Edward Remsel, adheres to the philosophy of his Scandinavian counterparts. In prison, criminal subcultures should not arise, prisoners must retain their rights and receive all the conditions for further adaptation to life at will. In Viru, on condition of good behavior, prisoners receive leave on day 21, as everywhere else in the country. In general, Russia directly under its side received a clear example of how to re-educate the criminal members of society in a civilized Europe.
Horserod State Prison.
This open Danish prison contains both men and women. The institution in North Zealand is open type and is designed for 221 people. This includes prisoners, whose term is less than five years. By the way, there are more open prisons in Denmark than strict ones (8 against 5). It is difficult to observe the attitudes of prison guards and prisoners, rather it is workers and their patients. In this prison it is accepted to trust an honest word, the violation of promises threatens with transfer to an even more strict, closed prison. Although there is a fence here, it has a symbolic character. Life inside the prison resembles in spirit the pioneer camp of a good level, only for adults. Long single-story houses and one-room rooms remind little of prison, prisoners are provided with running tracks, a church, a shop and a library, eye-catching lawns are pleasing to the eye. The director behaves democratically, shaking hands with the guests. In their movements prisoners of freedom – they can cook, wash, eat and sleep at any time convenient to them. Although after 22 hours barracks are closed, there is no such thing as this. The work of prisoners in workshops and participation in social courses, for example, in courses of anger management, is highly encouraged. Allowed people to go free any day for work and study.However, in the evening it is still necessary to return to the state house. In the family department, prisoners live with their children and, by mutual agreement, with their spouses. However, it does not do without problems – it becomes difficult to control local drug trafficking. There is simply no one to search people who returned after their legal weekend (once every three weeks). But those who have problems with drug addiction are credited to the appropriate department. There prisoners regularly take urine tests and they are assigned a more strict regime.
In Mexican Chetumal, there is a male prison for 1,100 prisoners. Until recently, this country was, perhaps, the only Hispanic in America who would try to create a civilized prison without repressive measures. If there were conflicts between the prisoners, boxing matches were organized between contenders, which were arranged with the support of the prison authorities. Usually such civilized battles led to quarreling quarrels. According to statistics, more than 10 years in this prison there was no recorded case of violence, despite the fact that the most serious criminals – murderers, robbers and drug dealers – are serving their term here. Yes, and the percentage of relapses was quite low among the released. However, in the educational program there were not only boxing fights. An important place was occupied by the manufacture of various goods, which were put up for sale. For example, it was in prison that the best hammocks were produced in the whole district. This allowed prisoners to purchase tape recorders and televisions into their cameras. But such liberties led to the resignation of the head of the prison, Victor Terrazas. In September 2009, the investigation found numerous violations of the regime and the excess of freedoms among the prisoners. The Commission found that in cells of the “luxury” class, prisoners used freely mobile phones in prison. There were also refrigerators and designer furniture. As a result, literally overnight conditions in prison have ceased to be as comfortable as before.