How Norway designed a more humane prison

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There’s a better way to design prison architecture. Become a Video Lab member! 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. Check out all the By Design episodes here: Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing. Previous headline: Norway is designing a more humane prison is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out Watch our full video catalog: Follow Vox on Facebook: Or Twitter:


Spekii : *when a prison room looks better than your own bedroom*

yan008 : Prison looks great, but I wish they could've implement more humane design on nursing homes.

bruh bruh : Is it just me or Norway flexing on everyone for years

Willifred The Witch : The punishment is losing freedom, not being confined in a dark small brick box for years. I agree with her.

Seb The Gamer Guy : when you realize that prison is actually better than school Edit: Omfg never had more than 50 likes and I have over a thousand thanks so much Edit 2: btw I meant most schools some schools are better but most are worse. Not many schools have couches and tv’s and stuff like that

Benjamin Taylor : The intention of prison is to rehabilitate a human to one day re-enter society. Locking them in a concrete cage with other prisoners for years and expecting them to re-enter society a changed, better person makes no sense. Humane prisons are absolutely the way to go!

PseudoSarcasm : I always thought that this is a great idea, but would only work in very well developed countries. Try this in America, and half of the population will want to be in prison. As a kid, I spent my summers at Soviet summer camps, they were generally enjoyable, but knowing I couldn't leave easily made them a little less pleasant. I can imagine how these prisons are still prisons, and as a normal human being you wouldn't want to be in one.

Leonardo Isaac : No one: Scandinavia: *flexing on every other country*

Saif Farooq : *Homeless people crime rates have increases by 200% in Norway*

Plums Plux : Norway’s prison system is about reformation, not solely punishment

Priorem : Homeless people: *exist* This prison: *exists* Homeless people: Its free real estate

Cham Lopez : Norway: Creates the most humane prison Me: So, what crime do I have to commit?

none given : The trouble the US has is that the cheap, cost effective prison that doesn't rehabilitate prisoners is perfect because it means you'll get the prisoners back shortly after their release and that way you can make more profit off them. For profit prisons are detrimental to society. Prisons should be about rehabilitation, not profit.

Star Cherry : What a brilliant idea! They should design my school like this too because it feels like a prison too

bardushka : me : goes to jail in Norway also me : *its free real estate*

Jonathan Sterling : The guards' rooms are intentionally designed too small... lol Yeah, I get the idea.

CPT Fields : Treating people well improves their disposition. What a novel concept...

Notorious Sneaky : No barbed wire? Yes because nobody’s gonna try and get out! Oh no 🤦‍♂️

Drowsy Daze : 90% of these comments are one of three things: "US prison sucks! " "This prison looks better than my school/house " "These prisons are so nice i'd want to commit a crime to go there"

Knifepoint King video : I think prison should be more like school. Instead of being isolated for your crime. Be educated to become a better person.

ayden : doesnt seem like a prison anymore though.

Yasir Irshad : I guess I'll just go to prison then 🤷‍♂️

Jaydee Animations : I imagine a prisoner going like “Yeah 5 stars 10/10 would commit crime to bet here again”

Baxter Colloid : I would commit a crime in Halden, Norway just to have better living conditions

SuperPug! : This is a great idea for a modern prison. To make the inmates still feel human and not like some wild animal, locked in a cage.

lol hi : I wanna commit the biggest crime to end up there :)

Argon : Norway: "Studies designs and layouts for their prison" My Country: **slaps tall fences near trainstation and hired amateur guards then called it a prison**

Just Here : * Goes to Norway * * Sees Norwegian prisons * *Well, time to commit a felony.*

Alice Grondin : Prisons should be about rehabilitation, not profit.

Marusa Penic : Since a lot of people are asking about murderers, like what happens to them, do they go to humane prisons. In most of Europe, murderers don’t go to prison, but get locked up in a mental institution, most of the time, for life.

windy : If I learned one thing from Escape at Dannemora it's that improving inmate/staff relations isn't always a good thing

Echo OCE : Hmmm brb ima go rob a bank in Norway

Louis Weddall : Prisons should be for rehabilitation, not some sort of sick revenge fantasy.

Dragon Buzz : I feel like this will increase crime cuz poor people might think its better being in prisons like that than their own apartments

musikSkool : I noticed that you didn't mention the actual cost per inmate for a prison like that.

Ryan Sokoloski : Some guy is just gonna break the window or chip the wall to make a weapon

bardushka : me : goes to jail in Norway also me : *its free real estate*

Dr Pepper : I am going to rob a bank. Who wants to help me?

Avice : Where did the lady buy her microphone? I want it now!

Nzeru Socia : This prison looks better than my own neighborhood and house

Filipe Oliveira : Nice! Now all the mass shooters and terrorists can have some cheerfull time, for free, in this amazing Norway resort

Daniel Caceres : When Science and humanity are at the core of policy making

K Gonzalez : They should take this design and implemented in US schools

Marissa Nee : Yeaaaaahhh Let's make prisons more humane. Because people who go there are surely very, very good bois. If inmates played 'Never have I ever', nobody would drink at robbery.. Murder.. They're humane, don't you dare to call a prisoner, inmate or a criminal (whatever you shall) a bad boi! He's humane for killing someone and he deserves to be treated with such humanity.... I mean come on. For homeless people it's a gift from heaven. Free home, food and amusement. And criminals too, who shouldn't be fecking enjoying their time in a prison they went.

Josh McNulty : People who get put in prison are in-humane, why should their environment be humane?

Eylul khalifeh : I don't know about this. Why would we give dangerous people a comfortable place that's better than our own houses.

john pardon : criminals leaving the prison shouldn't be criminals anymore. that should be the target of a punishment system.

R3K MUSIC OFFICIAL : It’s a more humane prison giving prisoners the freedom to open the glass fire door and exit the area 💪🏼

Notorious Sneaky : Bye my Mexican family, I’m going to Norway.