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There is a popular point of view which says that the level of development of a country and society can be judged by the level of treatment of criminals. Then it turns out that the most developed countries in the world are the states of Scandinavia, and of the advanced countries, Russia and the United States will be at the bottom of the list.
The fact is that in powerful states, citizens internally want the offender to be not only isolated, but also humiliated as much as possible. But in Denmark and Norway, this approach is not applicable. They believe that in a civilized society, imprisonment in itself is the only possible punishment.
The perpetrator is essentially undergoing compulsory social treatment. Curiously, this approach is justified by statistics. If in the United States, about half of those who have served time end up in prison again, in more humane Norway there are less than 20%.
Today, a series of high-profile trials in Russia makes us increasingly think about how to change our penitentiary system for the better? Everyone has heard of lists of the most terrible and terrible prisons in the world, but Forbes magazine has compiled a rating of the most humane and cozy institutions of this type.
Vestre Faengsel. This closed men's prison near Copenhagen, Denmark has a capacity of just 530 inmates. Vestre is one of the oldest prisons in the country. It was built here in 1895, and criminals with a term of at least five years are serving their sentences. But the prison itself, according to eyewitnesses, leaves the most pleasant impression. There is not only an ordinary gym and a library with a medical center, but also a store where you can buy everything that is usual, except alcohol. The prisoners have funds - they receive a daily allowance of 50 kroons (about 7 euros). There is also an opportunity to earn extra money - wages vary from 10 to 35 CZK per hour. True, most of the prisoners here, and especially the emigrants, still prefer to receive the offered secondary education here. Every third overseer is a woman. All employees undergo a thorough three-year training, including psychological training. This gives them every reason to receive a salary of 3000 euros. We may find the problems facing the prison management amusing. For example, the issue of consumption of sweets by prisoners has become acute, as a result of which Vestre visits the dentist on a weekly basis. Although the institution is of a closed type, more strict than usual, only guards wear uniforms, and even then, without weapons. However, the bars typical for such establishments still remain. This kind of humanity is very expensive for the authorities. As a result, there are more guards in Vestra than the prisoners themselves.
Gelsenkirchen. This German prison located in Gelsenkirchen has both male and female blocks. The total number of prisoners here is 558. This prison is quite young - it was erected in 1998 for an amount of 92 million euros. The Gelsenkirchen Penitentiary is spread over an area of 100 thousand square meters, being today one of the most modern prisons in Europe. Before designing the complex, there was even a competition among architects. The territory is divided into female and male parts, each barracks are lined up in a semicircle, forming the boundaries of a large sports field. Both halves of the prison have their own church and library, but there are also clear differences. So, women have the right, under the supervision of warders, to walk outside the prison, but men have their own school, with courses in computer literacy and German as a second language. Men spend their time in prison in laundries and workshops, working metals. Women work in gardens and offices. It is curious that both those, and those periodically carry out incoming from the outside to the manufactory. A large number of psychologists, teachers, managers, social workers and clergymen work with prisoners to embark on a reformatory journey. For young offenders, special programs have been created that allow criminals not to lose their skills of life in the wild. Visits by relatives are allowed here three times a month for 45 minutes in the common room. Also, criminals can chat with relatives for 3 hours in a separate secluded room.
Halden Fengsel. This closed Norwegian prison in Halden holds only 248 male inmates. However, it is the largest correctional facility in the country and was opened in 2010. This prison quickly became famous thanks to various media. Although it was known that the standards for the treatment of prisoners in Norway are almost the highest in the world, the reality surpassed all expectations. The walls of the courtyard are decorated with graffiti by the famous artist Dolk Lundgren. The outer walls are finished with bricks to make the view less official. There is a recording studio and cooking courses for prisoners, but if relatives come to visit, they can spend the night in a separate house with those who are serving time. One gets the feeling that this is not even a prison, but some kind of boarding house. The guards are unarmed, they don't even have handcuffs. Inside the rooms, the decoration in no way corresponds to the term "camera". So, there are no bars on the windows, and all the interior decoration looks more like an inexpensive, cozy hotel. Actually, it was with this goal that the interior of the prison premises and the entire territory was created - let there be as little differences as possible from the everyday world. The only thing that reminds all the same that here is a prison - six-meter block walls around the entire perimeter of an area of 30 hectares, and even then they are covered with thickets of trees. An elite prison for the elite? Not at all, not only negligent taxpayers are serving their sentences here, but also the most real rapists and murderers. Like everyone else, these people fill out questionnaires, on the basis of which the local authorities plan to improve the conditions of detention.
Ustiz Zentrum Leoben. The Austrian prison in Leoben can hold 205 people. At the same time, minimum severity is observed here, and among the prisoners, in addition to men and women, there are even minors. This kind of construction causes conflicting responses. When photos of this center hit the Internet, a serious debate erupted. The public was shocked by the fact that criminals are being held in conditions better than those of many law-abiding Austrians. The management proudly replied that it was easy to build a building from which criminals could not escape, but letting people remain themselves is much more difficult. As a result, all the necessary conditions were really created for this. The design itself was created by the famous Austrian architect Joseph Hohenzim. Both the external and internal appearance are created in high-tech style, resembling some kind of corporate office. The windows are designed to let in the maximum amount of light, even the furniture is painted in light colors. The dull prison courtyard was replaced by a garden with tables for playing table tennis. Everything inside the prison is as open as possible, prisoners can admire the surroundings, while the outer wall is equipped with the most modern surveillance technologies. A gym and a library are commonplace in prisons, but here there is even a kitchen with a washing machine.Inmates are especially delighted with their own horse farm. For many, concerts held in prison, which sympathetic musicians give to prisoners, will seem inappropriate excess. Naturally, if not everyone, then every criminal dreams of going to prison in Leoben, for sure. Only those whose term does not exceed 18 months are serving their sentences here.
Butner Federal Prison. The Americans also managed to create very favorable conditions for prisoners in one of the prisons. There are 3600 such people in the North Carolina correctional institution. The institution is of minimal and medium severity, and only men stay here. The penitentiary system in the country is considered to be quite harsh and provoking inequality. That is why concessions were made for the "white collars", the main of which is this federal correctional complex, Batner. It is full of famous guests - the founder of the largest financial pyramid in the history of the United States, Bernard Madoff, John Hinckley, who assassinated Ronald Reagan, television evangelical preacher Jim Becker and various CEOs of large companies. Butner has even earned the nicknames "The Royal Pearl of the Federal Prisons" and ClubFed. Outwardly, the institution looks like a student campus, only there is barbed wire on the fences. One can only guess what kind of everyday prison life is carried on inside. This is evidenced by the reviews about the good reputation of the premises and staff and eloquent details. So, it is here that psychological and medical complexes are the best of the entire federal prison system, as well as an excellent drug rehabilitation program. On average, $ 2.7 per day is allocated for food for each prisoner, and there is cable television in the cells, in particular, the Discovery Channel helps criminals to re-educate themselves. But the most pleasant impression is left only by blocks of minimal severity, in the rest it is not so safe, and stabbing is not uncommon.
Bastoey. This minimum-severity Norwegian men's prison contains only 115 inmates. Not far from Oslo in the fjord is the islet of Bastoy, which was nicknamed "the Island of Hope". The idea of the organizers of the prison here should imbued inmates with a sense of responsibility for the environment. This will provide an opportunity to prepare for further full-fledged life outside the walls that do not exist here. In the world's first ecological prison, electricity is generated by solar panels, garbage is sorted and recycled whenever possible, and vegetables and fruits are grown for food on the spot. All prisoners are engaged in the struggle to preserve nature, everyone does what he can. This approach not only instills new values in prisoners, but also gives the state the opportunity to significantly save money. As a result, much less money has to be spent on the maintenance of the ecozone in Bastoye than in the case of conventional prisons. This is a little reassuring to citizens who are worried that their taxes are being spent on criminals. There are only 6 guards on the island, but so far there has been no attempted riot. The prisoners understand that by doing so they can condemn themselves to much harsher conditions of detention. And in anonymous interviews, the prisoners do not hesitate to call this prison a summer camp. What else is needed - work in the fresh air, unity with nature, horseback riding and relaxing on the beach when the sea warms up. Such a friendly prison, however, is not for everyone - only petty criminals living in the Oslo region get here.
San Pedro. The largest Bolivian prison for men is located in the city of La Paz and holds 1,500 people. There are no cameras as such, no security. However, this place cannot be called a resort in the manner of the Norwegian. Powerful walls form a kind of reservation for violators inside, which looks more like a slum in a Latin American town than a correctional institution. In San Pedro, only a quarter of the population is full-fledged prisoners, while the rest are awaiting the end of the investigation or a court decision. Previously, there was a significant drug traffic inside the prison; to combat it, the authorities canceled the previously adopted practice of tourist visits. However, an average of 4 deaths are recorded in the prison every month. In general, the police try not to interfere especially, giving the prisoners the opportunity to independently settle their internal affairs. For this, representatives are elected who are endowed with special powers. The basic law of prison is extremely simple - if a person has money, then he has everything. The territory itself is divided into 8 zones, each person pays for their accommodation. A shack of 4 square meters in the poorest part of San Pedro will cost $ 10 a month. But the richest guests pay 1000-1500 dollars, literally bathing in luxury in large rooms with all conveniences. You can find any food in the prison, and all the same prisoners sell it, trying thereby to earn at least something. Single fathers have the right to live here with their children, who also attend schools outside the prison. The main entertainment in San Pedro is football matches between local teams. There is also its own tote, the volume of bets on which monthly exceeds 20 thousand dollars. Here, as in real life, football players have a chance to make a career. The most talented go to richer teams, increasing their social status.
Viru. In Estonia, Jõhvi decided to comply with all European standards of penitentiary systems. Estonia decided to completely get rid of the Soviet legacy in the form of camp-type prisons, presenting Viru in 2006. The local prison holds 1,075 inmates. Both men and minors are held in the open and closed parts of the prison. The modern complex was built just 30 kilometers from the Russian border. Here, for the first time, prison premises and a pre-trial detention center were combined. The construction contractor was the construction company Merko Ethius, which has already established itself with the construction of residential buildings, the Radison SAS hotel and the renovation of Tallinn airport. As many as 220 subcontractors were hired, and the entire construction cost $ 120 million. At the same time, great attention is paid to security, all 14 buildings of Viru are connected by elevated closed corridors. The entire perimeter of 16 hectares is equipped with electronic tracking systems, which significantly reduced the number of guards. But for the status of a modern new prison, it was necessary to develop social directing institutions. The complex contains a gym and a school, a chapel and workshops. The prison cells are double, and each has a toilet that neutralizes odors. Prisoners are allowed to install their own television if they can afford to pay their cable television bills. Viru's chief overseer, Edward Remsel, adheres to the philosophy of his Scandinavian colleagues. Criminal subcultures should not arise in prison, prisoners should retain their rights and receive all the conditions for further adaptation to life in freedom. In Viru, on condition of good behavior, prisoners receive 21 days of leave, as elsewhere in the country. In general, Russia has received a clear example of how criminal members of society in civilized Europe are being re-educated right next to it.
Horserod State Prison. Both men and women are held in this open Danish prison. The institution in North Zealand is open and has a capacity of 221 people. This includes prisoners whose sentences are less than five years. By the way, there are more open prisons in Denmark than strict ones (8 versus 5). It is difficult to observe the relationship between guards and prisoners, rather it is workers and their patients. In this prison, it is customary to trust the word of honor; breaking promises threatens to be transferred to an already more strict, closed prison. Although there is a fence here, it is symbolic. Life inside the prison is similar in spirit to a good level pioneer camp, only for adults.Long one-story houses and one-room suites bear little resemblance to a prison; jogging tracks, a church, a shop and a library are at the service of prisoners, and mowed lawns are pleasing to the eye. The director behaves democratically, shaking hands with the guests. In their movements, prisoners of freedom - they can cook, wash, eat and sleep at any time convenient for them. Although the barracks are closed after 10 pm, there is no lights out. Prisoners are highly encouraged to work in workshops and participate in social courses, such as anger management courses. People are allowed to go free any day for work and study. However, in the evening you must still return to the government house. Inmates live in the family department with their children and, by mutual agreement, with their spouses. However, it is not without problems - it becomes difficult to control local drug traffic. There is simply no one to search people who have returned after their legal day off (once every three weeks). But those who have problems with drug addiction are assigned to the appropriate department. There, inmates regularly take urine tests and are assigned a stricter regime.
Cereso Chetumal. Chetumal, Mexico, has a men's prison for 1,100 inmates. Until recently, this country was, perhaps, the only Hispanic in America who would try to create a civilized prison without repressive measures. If conflicts arose between prisoners, boxing fights were organized between the disputants, which were arranged with the support of the prison authorities. Usually such civilized battles led to the extinguishment of quarrels. Statistics say that for more than 10 years no case of violence has been recorded in this prison, despite the fact that the most vicious criminals - murderers, robbers and drug dealers are serving their sentences here. And the percentage of relapses was quite low among those released. However, the educational program included not only boxing matches. An important place was occupied by the manufacture of various goods that were put up for sale. For example, it was in the prison that the best hammocks in the entire district were produced. This allowed the inmates to purchase tape recorders and televisions for their cells. But such liberties led to the resignation of the head of the prison, Victor Terrazas. In September 2009, an inspection revealed numerous violations of the regime and excess of freedoms among prisoners. The commission found that in the cells of the "luxury" class, the prisoners used mobile phones freely prohibited in the prison. There were also refrigerators and designer furniture. As a result, literally overnight conditions in the prison ceased to be as comfortable as before.