How Norway designed a more humane prison

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  • Published on:  Friday, April 12, 2019
  • There’s a better way to design prison architecture.Become a Video Lab member! 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: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.Previous headline: Norway is designing a more humane is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:
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  • Vox


     4 months ago +8597

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

  • Atthar Ibrah

    Atthar Ibrah

     1 months ago +2535

    judge : you are sentenced to be in prison for 10 years
    suspected : ok then

  • family friendly me

    family friendly me

     2 months ago +6088

    97% of Norways inmates never comit a crime after spending time in this prison. that is the highest number in the world.
    If you treat inmates like animals they become animals...

  • KendrixTermina


     2 months ago +1466

    This is not about being "nice" to criminals - its simple biology/psychology.
    Stress leads to more problematic behavior. If the person can be rehabilitated, taking away stress will help to do so, and if they're dangerous and need to kept there permanently, then, putting them under pressure exascerbates that danger.
    They're still walled in either way.

  • KunRides


     1 months ago +1801

    The vikings, once the fiercest people are now the smartest.

  • Spekii


     4 months ago +15448

    when a prison room looks better than your own bedroom

  • YourAverageGuy


     1 months ago +1069

    When you're going to commit a crime, do it in Norway.

  • ViralTalent


     28 days ago +444

    America University: costs 100,000$
    Sweden University: costs FREE and we get 400$ monthly to go to University

  • Leo W.I

    Leo W.I

     4 months ago +2239

    No one:
    flexing on every other country

  • Lego


     1 months ago +878

    I wish my school looked as nice as this.

  • Jayden Y

    Jayden Y

     1 months ago +224

    Homeless people when they find out about this: Hehe

  • Andy Chen

    Andy Chen

     1 months ago +278

    In us prisons you get beaten up,
    In Norwegian prisons you learn and reflect. Prison is just a longer detention.

  • Pikaia Gracilens

    Pikaia Gracilens

     28 days ago +86

    Scandinavia makes literally every other modern country look barbaric and medieval. Especially the US, the land of the free.

  • Ruskilaxi


     2 months ago +576

    This prison and Norway in general has the lowest rate of reoffenders - I would say this pretty much proves this concept right.

  • bruh bruh

    bruh bruh

     4 months ago +6805

    Is it just me or Norway flexing on everyone for years

  • Julie K

    Julie K

     28 days ago +75

    I’m from Norway and I was like: Let’s not talk about the fact that the prison in my city has a bakery...

  • levin bramers

    levin bramers

     3 months ago +310

    Went down to the comments expecting loads of toxicity, super glad to see (almost) everyone really supportive of these prison designs!

  • Shay Qian

    Shay Qian

     3 months ago +214

    norway is literally so ahead of the rest of the world... we've all still got a lot to learn

  • Asta Laustsen

    Asta Laustsen

     1 months ago +168

    Literally all scandinavian countries have similar systems, and societies, and it works amazing. I think a lot of countries can learn from it. Just look at Sweden, Norway and Denmark

  • yan008


     4 months ago +7294

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