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

     2 months ago

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

  • Ethan Winograd


    well yeah, i mean prisoners are people too and i wouldn’t want someone living in complete misery.


     3 days ago

    Yes, But im a norwegian sooo..... Jeah

  • Spekii

     2 months ago

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

  • 0303wong

     4 days ago

    looks better than my house

  • Mobile Cyclop

     12 days ago

    When you sleep at kitchen …

  • yan008

     2 months ago

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

  • Taylor Brown

     2 days ago

    Take that up with the companies that own nursing homes. That’s not a government issue.

  • delliebby

     4 days ago

    What nursing home isn't humane?? Oregon nursing homes are homely

  • Plums Plux

     2 months ago

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

  • Marc Ong

     2 days ago

    Didn't u hear what she say? Every life is a ....

  • family friendly me

     17 days ago

    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...

  • Willifred The Witch

     2 months ago

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

  • Graf Redeco

     16 days ago

    @Lynne Buttress If he stabbed her just like he feat it he shouldn't go to prison. He should go into a psychiatry. These people there can help him way more than those in prison.

  • Bubblegumtoothpaste

     2 months ago

    Norway: Free collages and humane prisons actually helping society.United States: *I'm gonna pretend I didn't see that.*

  • Dulana Wijeratne

     5 days ago

    You know that there are more countries other than USA ryt?

  • CPT Fields

     2 months ago

    Treating people well improves their disposition. What a novel concept...

  • Eric Mosell

     16 hours ago

    @Porfirio Diaz Cool

  • Porfirio Diaz

     5 days ago

    @Eric Mosell No I treat them like children. There are freedoms they are not allowed to indulge in.By your logic I should let them drive, drink alcohol and not go to school because not doing so is a "punishment".

  • Leo W.I

     1 months ago

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

  • Dominus Vobiscum

     5 days ago

    What about all of the grenades they find in Sweden and the constant violence in migrant communities?

  • Knifepoint King video

     2 months ago

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

  • RafaelTopgunStudios

     5 hours ago

    @Porfirio Diaz The norwegian prisons?

  • HardcoreGamer X500

     5 days ago

    Knifepoint King video Agreed :D