Halden Prison, Even though Imprisoned Your Future Doesn’t End

Norway is always on the list of the most peaceful countries in the world. Take an example, just look at life in the prison that is far from being ‘haunted’.

Please search the internet about the safest or happiest country in the world. Certainly, Norway is always on the list. The Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula is famous for its peaceful life. Norway applies happiness and peace to all elements of society. Including, for the life of prisoners in prison.

‘How Norway Turns Criminals Into Good Neighbors’ as an article from the BBC discussing Halden Prison. A prison in Halden City, located about 130 kilometers south of the City of Oslo (capital of the Norwegian state).

“They, the prisoners are human. They have made mistakes and must be punished, but don’t forget that they are human,” Halden Prison Chief Are Hoidal said.

The Halden Prison, used to be like a prison in general that seems dark, slum and neglected. But in the 1990s, the Norwegian government through the Norwegian Correctional Service changed this.

Made a prison that is more comfortable and humane. The inside is not just a prison. The rooms are like hotels, there are beautiful forest panoramas, gardens and super complete facilities. To the extent that yoga classes and recording studios also exist!

Halden Prison was overhauled by spending 153 million Euros or around Rp. 2.4 T. Very, very fantastic numbers.

Look at the part of his room. There are TVs, sofas, soft mattresses and windows. The atmosphere is very comfortable, like being in a hotel room.

“We don’t take away the freedom of prisoners. They get decent rights like Norwegians in general,” explained Hoidal.

Hoidal explained, inmates still get the right to health to education. In fact, prisoners in Norway were given special training in prisons such as training in mechanics, carpenters, sewing to become chefs.

“Prisons here are not about revenge. Getting out of here, they can work and live properly,” he explained.

Also about education, there are classes about the level of school and diploma there. Not only that, but prisoners in Halden Prison also get family rights in the ‘Daddy In Prison’ program. There is a special room like a playground full of games and books, where they can meet children and their families.

In fact, rooms are available for overnight and inmates can return to feeling special times with their beloved family. Once in 3 months, the program takes place.

Every day, at 7:15 the prisoners will come out of their rooms. They do various activities and at 20.15 they will return to the room.

Good Social Relations

Complete facilities are not the main thing in Halden Prison. The main thing there is the matter of social relations between the guards and inmates.

“Our first defense was good social relations between officers and inmates. We prevented it before there was a conflict,” explained Hoidal.

When was the last time there was a dispute or riot in prison?

“Wow when, it seems like a long time. Look, the officers here have been trained so well to maintain social relations. We officers serve with heart, become their friends, hear their complaints and interact with each other together,” said Hoidal.

Yes, the guards (but Hoidals prefer to be called ‘officers’) like to spend time together. Either play games, clean the park and so on. From there, trust and a sense of mutual care emerged.

“You cannot help others if you are not in good condition. You must have a clear head to be an officer in this prison. If you become an officer with fear and anxiety, then you cannot help anyone,” Hoidal explained.

Training to become a prison officer in Norway is also not a short time. Prison officials will be selected at University College from the Norwegian Correctional Service. Even the tightest selection of training time can reach two to three years!

Prospective officers will be given training in the English language (one-third of prisoners in Norway are not native Norwegians), law, ethics, criminology, and social sciences. There are martial arts lessons, but that’s the umpteenth number.

The officers will receive more than enough payment. Thus, the practices of bribery and others will be avoided (even though there are actually no cases of bribery and the like). In fact, almost half the officers in Norwegian prisons are women.

“Manly men, they will respect or at least hesitate with women. Even though there are many female officers, there is no sexual harassment here. Therefore, we built social relations as a strong system, meaning women here are respected,” said Hoidal.

Halden Prison is able to accommodate up to 258 inmates with 190 prison officers and 100 other staff employees. The detainees there are mostly cases of drug smuggling and murder.

Through prisons that humanize humans, the rate of recidivism in Norway is much reduced. Recidivism itself is the tendency of individuals or groups to repeat mistakes even though he has been convicted of committing an act.

The figure is only 20 percent in a year or an average of 25 percent in the last five years. When comparing with other countries in Europe, the UK for example, the figure is 50 percent in a year.

Prison again is not a place of revenge. For Norway, prison is where people change. A place to contemplate and repent, then continue life as human beings.

“If we treat inmates as animals, that means we will release animals to the streets later. But here we don’t, we free humans,” Hoidal closed.

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