A prison in Norway has been named the world's nicest for its lush countryside views and accommodations for its inmates. The prison stands in stark contrast to many found here in the United States.
The Bastoy Prison, located in Norway, was founded in 1982 and is located in the heart of the countryside. Prisoners here are treated to deluxe accommodations including a sauna, tennis courts, a private beach, time to fish, and a substantial amount of freedom. Upon arrival, it is easy to forget that this place is actually a prison.
"If we created a holiday camp for criminals here, so what?" Arne Kvernik Nilsen asked CNN. Nilsen serves as one of the leaders of the prison and is also a former minister and psychologist. "We should reduce the risk of reoffending, because if we don't, what's the point of punishment, except for leaning toward the primitive side of humanity?"
As it stands, Bastoy is a leader in the country. Only 16 percent of its inmates commit a crime after being released. That is four percent lower than the national average of prisoners recommitting offenses and 27 percent lower than the U.S. average.
People here in the U.S. have mixed reviews about Bastoy, but many argue that if the systems work in Norway, they shouldn't be looked at negatively. Justin from California wrote, "If this helps better assimilate prisoners back into society and out of a life of crime, maybe we should look into things like this" on Yahoo's wall.
"I agree," added user Josh. "Our prisons don't work. Most of [the] ex-cons go back. Whatever Norway is doing, it's working, and they're also pretty high up on the list of the 10 happiest countries, a list that doesn't include the U.S. The goal of prison is to teach the criminal how to behave in society so that upon release [he or she] is able to merge with society and contribute to it."
Others, however, have argued that a prison is a home for those who have committed a crime and should not be a retreat or comfortable.
"I would like to hear what the victims and their families have to say about the criminals sunbathing, fishing, and playing tennis. Living as good as someone on the outside is a slap in the face to all those who suffered and is not justice in the least," noted Car Guy.
"The aim of Bastoy is not to punish or seek revenge," said Nilsen. "The only punishment is to take away the prisoner's right to be a free member of society."