Anders Behring Breivik, the convicted killer in last week’s Norway massacre, will likely serve time in a prison that is considered the world’s most luxurious, according to the Telegraph.
The prison, Halden Fengsel, is located outside of Oslo and was built last year by King Harald V. It houses 250 male inmates and some of the most hardened and roughest criminals.
According to The Lookout, Halden’s facilities include a sound studio, jogging trails and a two-bedroom house separate from the main facility where convicts can stay with their families during overnight visits.
This is a far cry from the barren jail facilities common in America and Britain.
Alex Masi, a photographer, records on his website that Halden is equipped with cells that have an “en-suite bathroom, a flat-screen TV and various comforts. They measure 12 [square meters--about 129 square feet] and are divided up into units (10 to 12) which share a living room and kitchen."
"The most important thing is that the prison looks as much like the outside world as possible," said Hans Henrik Hoilund, one of the prison's architects, to Time.
Halden took ten years to build and cost around $252 million. The inmates – or “guests” may be the more appropriate term – can take specialty classes, like cooking or go rock climbing. The cells, according to The Lookout, are brightly painted and have no bars on the windows.
"In the Norwegian prison system, there's a focus on human rights and respect," said Are Hoidal, the prison's governor, as quoted by Time, "We don't see any of this as unusual."
Prison guards are expected to make each inmate’s time "as meaningful, enlightening and rehabilitating as possible." Most prison guards are women so as to reduce aggression amongst the inmates. According to the Telegraph, the guards are unarmed and are often seen playing sports or video games or eating meals with the prisoners. All in order to “create a sense of family.”
According to Foreign Policy, Norway typically sentences murderers to 14 years or less; 21 at the most. If the prisoner is still deemed a threat to society an additional 5 years may be tacked on. However, “Life without parole” is not an option.
"Both society and the individual simply have to put aside their desire for revenge, and stop focusing on prisons as places of punishment and pain," one prison official said last year to the Foreign Policy. "Depriving a person of their freedom for a period of time is sufficient punishment in itself without any need whatsoever for harsh prison conditions."
As odd a system this may seem to Americans, it does seem to work for Norway. Within two years, as reported by Time, only 20 percent of prisoners end up back in jail after their release compared to a 50 or 60 percent in the United. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that the number of criminals in the U.S. is the highest in the world, which dwarfs that of Norway.
So what will happen to Breivik? Well, if convicted of killing nearly 80 people in the Norway massacre that happened last week, he could face up to 21 years in this resort-like prison.