Sometimes life does not seem fair, especially when prisoners seem to live better than the rest of us. In the Norwegian prison of Bastoey, inmates roam free on an island without fences. They have access to beaches and landscapes that many of us would pay to visit. As punishment for a variety of crimes, ranging from murder to petty theft, inmates are forced to live on this island and must produce their own meals by farming the land. Everything is extremely efficient: Wood-waste is used for heat and solar panels installed by inmates provide much of the electricity used on the island.
One of the main benefits of running this sort of prison is the low cost associated with its design. Solar panels cut electricity by up to 70%, staff is minimal, and prisoners handle the food production and preparation.
It might seem like a strange form of punishment, but prisoners are obviously not allowed to leave the island and have to work on a daily basis for their food. They are restricted to living a certain way and many tire of the lifestyle. The environment is a healthy one, though, and this is exactly what is needed to rehabilitate troubled individuals.
The calm demeanor of the inmates on this island is surreal when compared to the daily riots, killings, and other meltdowns that occur in many other prisons throughout the world. Of course there are only 115 inmates to deal with and this small number makes managing the community much easier.
Everything harvested in this community is organic and natural. No pesticides are used on the various grains, fruits and vegetables that prisoners farm. Cows, sheep and chickens are taken care of on the island to provide additional protein in the self made meals. Nothing is wasted either; any food not used by the Bastoey prison is sent to other prisons.
This is the first ecological prison in the world. Instead of restricting criminals in cells where productivity is minimal, Norway has found a way for prisoners to provide for themselves in an ecologically friendly environment. Some may argue that there are incentives to commit a crime just to live in this ‘resort’. But numbers indicate that they know what they are doing: Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It seems that the modern attitude adopted by their society is definitely working.